Going back to his roots: Petre Dobre revisits his old school in Romania as part of a cultural exchange programme
During spring break, BA Performance student Petre Dobre and Lecturer in Acting Mark Stevenson travelled to Craiova in southern Romania and took part in a week of drama workshops and cultural exchange activities.
The trip was part of an ongoing, two-year Erasmus+ funded programme of activities designed to build relationships and promote drama training for young deaf adults, jointly organised by three partner organisations: Solar Bear theatre company, Beethoven High School and the National Theatre of Craiova in Romania.
Artistic Director of Solar Bear, Gerry Ramage first visited Craiova early in 2015 and spotted Petre’s potential. This directly led to Petre’s application to RCS and to his admission to the newly formed BA Performance programme.
This recent trip was the second time young people from the Beethoven School and Solar Bear’s Deaf Youth Theatre had met and gave them the chance to build both personal and professional connections.
The group, led by a member of the Craiovan National Theatre company, trained for four days before performing a short piece to an enthusiastic student and television audience. The local TV station took great interest in the project and both Petre and Mark were invited onto Craiovan breakfast TV for a surprise interview (in four languages!).
As well as having the opportunity to sample the local cuisine and sights, the group was also invited to the premiere of a contemporary version of Julius Caesar at the National Theatre, and performed an informal cabaret for each other in a local arts bar.
Much was exchanged and learned about different educational and cultural practices. The training, use, and style of interpreting between spoken and sign languages was incredibly different and led to some challenging situations. However both groups felt they understood more about each other’s ways of working by the end of the week – an important aim of the project.
Petre provided an invaluable bridge between the two groups, helping communication between British Sign language, English, Romanian and Romanian Sign Language, He was also able to reflect on the huge journey he has taken since moving to Glasgow last September and the life-changing opportunity that he has by studying at RCS (there is currently no pathway for vocational drama training for the deaf in Romania). Petre’s continuing study on the BA Performance programme is generously supported by the Dewar Arts Award Fund.
The exchange project will culminate in a final visit by the Romanian group to Glasgow in October where they will have the chance to work with a British director and perform a final piece of theatre exploring the journey they’ve been on together.