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Stages of Change

“The women turn again to face their audience and their eyes silently tell their stories. These are stories that have rarely been heard: how they, their sisters, their mothers, their grandmothers, have been beaten by their husbands, humiliated or controlled; how these women have had no alternative but to tolerate abuse like this for years, for lifetimes.

These women are performers with Stages of Change, a theatre group founded in 2013 on the Solomon Islands as a way to tackle the huge problem of domestic violence in the islands’ culture. Their performance, Voices Against Violence, features 14 women using mime, choreography and traditional Melanesian imagery to convey their experiences and their message that this abuse must end.”

– Pioneers Post, 24th Nov 2017

Over two years, The Conch led this groundbreaking project, the first of its kind in the Solomon Islands, using theatre as a vehicle for reducing violence against women and increasing women’s participation in civil society and peace making.

This included:

  • Establishing a sustainable national Women’s Theatre Company with a group of Solomon Islands women, selecting 15 women to take part, who represent a broad cross section of the nine provinces across more than 900 islands that make up the Solomon Islands archipelago.
  • After creating a performance work in 2013, the show would tour around the main islands in the Solomon Islands in 2014 and beyond
  • Radio scripts written by local writers mentored under the project be created for broadcast.
  • In addition to the Women’s Theatre Company, creative training techniques will be used in workshops offered directly to women who are survivors of domestic violence.

In 2016, The Conch partnered again with the EU and British Council to bring this important work to Fiji. While there we worked at the legendary Oceania Centre, kindly hosted by Peter Espiritu.

“I have always been passionate about working with pacific women to create rich stories using highly physical and visual theatrical forms.  Being a Melanesian woman myself means that a cultural understanding already exists which is a foundation for building trust and the relationships that are necessary to enable creative expression in the group. Having the confidence to be able to stand on stage publicly is the doorway to being able to find your voice to speak out”
– Nina Nawalowalo

The Conch in Fiji

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