Nord et sud dans nos histoires - à l’écoute de l’œuvre d’Albert Camus “Le premier homme” 2011 - 2013

From Albert Camus to our stories: a European exchange project on the theme of cultural origins

coordinated by
Viola Ghidelli

From 2011 to 2013, Mirmica participated in a European exchange project within the Grundtvig programme for continuing adult education, in partnership with the Alzhar theatre company from Marseille and the Ecologicamente association from Beas de Segura (Jaèn, Spain). The focus of the project was on the exchange of practices and methodologies in adult education, with a specific theme weaving a common thread among the groups involved: Albert Camus and his unfinished work Le Premier Homme, as a starting point for questioning the question of one's cultural origins and the relationship with one's roots. Mirmica on the occasion of the project involved the iMOV theatre group and invited the partners to participate in the second edition of the iMOV festival, a festival of theatre, music and performance held in Cinisello Balsamo in 2012.

During the two-year project, each group involved worked theatrically from the work of Camus. Ecologicamente worked with a group of elderly people from a community in the south of Spain; the Alzhar company with mixed groups of young people and adults, mostly inhabitants of peripheral neighbourhoods in Marseille; Mirmica involved the iMOV group, born at the psychiatric rehabilitation day centre in Cinisello Balsamo. This experience allowed them to question themselves together on the meaning of their origins, both personal and collective, and on the relationship between their own stories and those of the young Albert - alias Pierre - told in The First Man, stimulating a reflection on the development of an era, on human nature, on the relationship with memory and with their own intimate memories and life experiences. But also, on another level, on a kind of methodological approach to involving communities in such a reflection and process of artistic creation.

Mirmica travelled twice to Marseille and twice to Spain, to meet the partners and communities with whom each was working. In Marseille, Mirmica took an active part in the collaborative creation process of Alzhar, working directly with the theatre company on the collection of materials for their performance together with the groups of learners involved. In Jaèn, Spain, the community integrated Mirmica's trainers in a few days of theatre workshops with local elderly people, and then in a village festival that brought together the memories, narratives, songs and dances typical of the area.

During the 2012 iMOV festival, Alzhar and the iMOVs presented their theatrical work to the local public; with Ecologicamente, the exchange took place especially within an open workshop moment involving trainers, group participants and psychosocial workers. Both partners also got to know the group of Theatre Apprentices, linked to the support services for the mentally ill in Garbagnate Milanese.

Here is a video of a practice exchange workshop between the project associations: