On 27 April, 2018, the University of Latvia held its third promotional seminar on the use of drama elements in English language teaching. The guest speaker was Xhovana Lala.
During the first part of the seminar Xhovana shared her experience studying theatre and participating in various projects that are similar to SIMELTA. The second part of the seminar allowed participants to play different theatrical games and learn how the drama method works in practice and contributes to interactivity.
Xhovana Lala is a 22-year-old Foreign Languages and Theatre student from Italy. In 2012 Xhovana started working in social theatre, which deals with creating performances on sensitive topics, like gender violence, immigration, bullying in schools, stereotypes, to educate and inspire the public to reflect on such delicate and important issues. These workshops and performances often include refugees or young people with mental disorders, autism, in order to create multicultural environment and promote social integration.
In 2014 Xhovana participated in the European theatre project Exchange of Community-engaged Performing Arts Practices (EXCEPT) Summer Academy. EXCEPT was a three week long educational programme that aimed to work with minorities and underprivileged groups through social artistic practices. The project took place in a multicultural environment with workshops held by 15 professionals of different nationalities (including members of Clowns without Borders, Barefeet Theatre, Polish Studio Skit, German Octopus, Bridge between Cultures, Hungarian Utcaszak, Serbian Cultura Nova). The programme was held in Hungary, in two underdeveloped villages (Irota and Szakàcsi). Besides the workshops, the participants got a chance to work with the people living in the villages, learn about their communities, and sensitive issues faced by the youth (e.g. drug addiction, poverty, and criminal activities).
In 2015 Xhovana participated in multiple projects, including language theatre as a part of a school project, which was organised by the students themselves and was based on creating theatrical performances in foreign languages (Spanish, English, French, or German). She also returned to EXCEPT. The project took place in the same villages and brought together 4 countries – Italy, Serbia, Poland, and Hungary. Within the framework of the project, the participants created their own performances; Xhovana together with other participants from Italy staged a play “Comedy of Art” which was later performed in Hungary, France, and Italy as well.
In 2017 Xhovana participated in the project Bando à Parte III as a director assistant within the framework of The Youth in Action programme. The Italian Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) in corporation with Irish partners of Tallaght Community Arts and O Teatrão from Portugal spent a week in Coimbra, Portugal working with the youth dealing in sensitive issues (child prostitution, family violence). The focus of the project was “arrivals and departures” of young people – difficulties of being an adolescent, decision-making at a young age, and challenges that young people face within a society. The purpose of the activities was to encourage the youth to be confident in stressful and sensitive situations. One of the activities included dividing the participants into groups of mixed nationalities, reflecting on serious issues, and creating a performance based on their collaboration.