Reporting back from Academy – Academy for Actors of Civil Change

The Academy for Actors of Civil Change is a 14-day international course designed to develop the skills of professionals working in the social field by introducing them to non-formal, artistic methods. Dóri Laczkó wrote a report about our Summer Academy at the end of August:

Let’s raise our glasses to the man of the hour, happy birthday!
We could choose from the champagne. I don’t know much about brands of champagne, so I choose the one with a better ringing name. We smiled at each other and said cheers. The younger generation sits around the table. We are still a bit intimated by the situation. The glasses empty out. I am somewhere else in my head, tasks and to-do-s running around, I leave my phone up in my room, so I can be present at least on the party bit, as opposed to on the summer Academy of 2021.

On one of my arms hangs 40 pieces of 20×20 canvas, on my other various paints, with a bag on my back. I am standing in the doorway of a small fabric shop, and I am looking at the street. It stopped raining. While Kati is shopping, I am wondering what will happen if the participants arrive early after all. Kati comes, she bought the skein, we can start going. That’s when a call comes from the office building, that some random French girl is looking for us. For a moment it slips through my mind, if I could make a living out of this, but no time for daydreaming, it all starts! There are more and more of us in the office, the flat takes on a whole different mood, there is no space for even a wiggle, it’s time to go.

We didn’t need much time to get to know the place of Szellős Rét, everyone quickly occupied their sleeping place, we soon felt at home on our little campsite.


The first question of the participants was how many times will we have a campfire. They were disappointed to hear the news, that only two are scheduled in the program, and they told us quickly that this needs to change, so we had our first fire already the first night. From that point we closed every day with a campfire. It is like this since the beginnings of time, around a fire we get warm, celebrate, tell the story of our lives, sing, get sentimental or party away. The campfires at night always showed the organisers how the people felt on that day, like a mirror. Deep conversations or loud singing and playing the guitar, or even party with loudspeakers. Every participant made a point to highlight the fact, how important were these occasions for the program, and no one can contest that.

This was the first time for me to meet with the force of an international camp. When we first sat in a circle, I thought how fundamentally easy this thing is. Making a circle. Still, from this shape, suddenly people connect somehow, and you can feel right away the positive energies moving. There was surprisingly big openness from all participants. Everyone wanted to understand each other , even if there were language barriers, we moved past them and finally all understood each other.

With days passing by, slowly all participants start to move on from the initial language barriers, their fear from strangers, from themselves, and they open up like a flower. Major personality traits of course remain in everyone, yet big changes are visible on everyone. I don’t want to paint a false picture, of course there always were and always will be people who passively stand by during the exercises, or anything really what is offered by life, but they will be the ones missing out on experiences around them, lost in their phones.

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It would be dragging and boring to write more about the program itself, you can anyway only understand and enjoy these exercises if you are participating. It should be enough, that when 30 people are dancing on a field without any choreography, only listening to their own bodies, it is very impactful even for an onlooker. Somehow, in that moment i was stunned by the whole process. It would be very intimidating if everyone danced on that field naked, but that is exactly what happened. Only they didn’t leave their clothes behind, only every outside thoughts they had. I can say, that ones moments get me every time, and this was an honest moment. Souls were dancing on that field. I know that it may sound very cheesy and romantic, but i have no other ways to express what i saw. Thing to se won’t stop here, there were times when i entered a workshop only to see that people are raising their hands, so they can move and place 6 chairs and a table in the spaces exactly how they want, and others are watching this. There were times, when everyone was standing in complete silence, without a movement for an hour, or they were interpreting the subjects of addiction and loneliness through small scenes. one thing i am sure of, no one will forget the experience and effect of „sensorial trip”. The Spanish team amazed everyone with the four elements of- soil, water, air, fire, what everyone could also feel, smell, touch and hear.

Apart from all these unforgettable experiences, the participants could bring home their self-portraits. With full commitment and all of their creativity they attempted to create their work. They came out so good, you can actually spend time over them, watching and analysing them.
Serious topics, problematic questions, moderation, drama pedagogy, playing, art, super colourful palette builds up Academy. Without what the whole thing wouldn’t work still, are the presenters, who are spending time and effort to come and talk about the youth Civil Sphere’s questions and problems. On the other side are the participants, lot of open, ambitious youngsters, who are craving the opportunities for arts and development.

We came together from 8 different points of the world, yet we remained open to the world, together, collectively at Academy in 2021.