Story-circle in the prison
Ever since 2011 we have been working/playing with the inmates of the penitentiary at Balassagyarmat in a program called Story-circle, designed and developed by Andrew Feldmár, a psychologist, and Dorka Büky, a trainer in communications. The convicts, during weekly sessions of the Story-circle, create theatre from their own life experiences, using the world of symbolism present in archaic folktales, and their morphological elements. They stage, dramatize, set to music and sing in a show performed during an extraordinary get-together, where their families and children are invited and form the audience.
This program exquisitely integrates, knits together family ties, the lives of the convicts and creates a metamorphosis in the inmates’ personalities. They learn to control their impulses, develop their empathy, they rediscover their ability to play, cry, laugh, bless, curse and love.
The Story-circle is not prison-theatre, nor is it a therapy group, it’s a much more complex psychological, ethical, cultural restorative and integrative project. During the past 6 years, those convicts who have participated in the Story-circle, and have regained their freedom, had a much better chance to find themselves and their place in society at large, committed no further crimes and deal with their children better, wiser and more humanely.
We are looking for financial support, because in Hungary, at present, this program receives zero support from local sources. This is due to political, cultural and economic reasons. Decision-makers are not interested in supporting our program, as they cannot see short term political benefits for themselves. Until April of 2016 our work was supported by the Norwegian Civil Fund, ever since then we work as unpaid volunteers, at our own expense, still enthusiastically and still committed, however our resources are finite and if we cannot gain new supporters, sooner or later we will be forced to stop. What we would like to finance from donations is the following: the wags of the two trainers, their transportation costs, and the cost of costumes and props necessary for the productions that take place around Easter and Christmas each year.
Our supporters will receive a regular newsletter in which we will inform them of our work, of the details of each upcoming production. We always make a CD of the shows, and we would gladly supply donors with copies.
We know that it is not easy to feel solidarity with convicts who live in a prison waiting to complete their sentences, but the Story-circle is such a humane and reasonable and successful program that proved itself that it’s capable of transforming the participants and delight their children. Please, give generously.