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Socrates — Grundtvig 2 project — Learning Partnership

C’you — C’me; Looking Both Ways

The Research Activities


Very early on 7 March the learners and the Austrian project management met at Vienna airport for the flight to Malta. Everyone was excited and some a bit worried about the “unknown” ahead. After a smooth flight they all landed safely at Luqa airport to be welcomed by Mr. Mario Azzopardi from the Malta Drama Centre and were escorted to the hotel in St. Julians.


In spare time of the first afternoon the group started to explore the history of Malta by catching a public bus to Mdina, the former capital of Malta. Fighting against the heavy winds the group strolled through the narrow alleyways of the medieval city, complaining about the fairly cold weather they did not expect in Malta.


Unfortunately the weather did not improve significantly throughout the stay and the Austrians discovered the lack of window sealing in Maltese buildings. Luckily this did not colour the whole experience and the group was still eager to learn more about Maltese Culture.


The programme for the stay was rather tight and on the first morning in Malta the group was due for an excursion to the Agricultural Research station in Marsa, where they were given extensive information on fruit and vegetable growing and animal farming on the islands. This was followed by a visit to the education channel 22 and a tour to the city of Valetta, the smallest capital city in the world with just 8.000 inhabitants.


Three mornings of the stay were dedicated to the Maltese Language, taught by the famous Maltese linguist Mr. Mario Serracin Inglott. Tongue-twisting exercises made the learners from Austria understand the particularities and difficulties of the Maltese Language – which was strongly influenced by Arabic, Spanish and Italian. Beside learning a few Maltese expressions and words the group also received valuable information on Maltese history and cultural heritage.


In the afternoons and evenings there was still enough time to meet with youth at the Salesian Youth Centre and the Maltese refugees camp near the harbour. Another highlight of the Austrian research visit to Malta was the lesson on Maltese Folk Music by Mr. Ruben Zahra, who introduced the classical instruments used on the islands for centuries.


A meeting with Dr Paul V. Mifsud from the Malta Council for Culture and Arts and Mr Caldon Mercieca from the Ministry for Tourism of Culture at Auberge d’Italie was the opportunity to hear the official voice of Malta and to get insights into the complexity of Maltese heritage. Tours to the fishermans’ village Marsaxlokk, the West of the island, the Prehistoric Temples and to the Three Cities provided the group with hands-on experience of the ancient routes of Maltese culture.


As we all know food and eating plays an essential role in intercultural understanding and for this reason the Austrian group attended the Mediterranean Food Festival in St. Julians in order to celebrate with Maltese people. Excellent food, folklore dances and music made this evening one of the most enjoyable moments of the stay and the learners had the chance to talk to a number of Maltese people and to share information.


For their last evening in Malta Dr Herbert Skok from the Volksbank Malta had arranged for a typical Maltese dinner with the Austrian Ambassador in Malta, Dr Elisabeth Kehrer. Between Maltese rabbit and Maltese wine the Austrians shared experience of living in Malta and enjoyed themselves with Maltese delicatessen.


In March/April 2007 the Austrian group will be back in Malta to put their impressions and findings on stage for a Maltese audience. We will keep you informed about dates and locations!


Vienna, 15 April 2006

Ingrid Wagenhofer

Project Co-ordinator Austria

18-23 March 2006, Finland goes to Austria



After the first project meeting in autumn 2005 our theatre group started a deeper research on the forum theatre plays and later on also Austria and its cultrue. First we had three eager learners planning for the research study trip to Austria, but when the take off came closer two of them “refused” to go with “good” reasons! So we had to manage with just one learner. But the quality equals the quantity.


The stay in Austria had been planned by our wishes by Ingrid Wagenhofer from the Business Club Austrialia.


We landed to Vienna in the early morning in late March. Ingrid Wagenhofer met us at the airport and handed the schedules and maps and detailed program for us. That was when our adventure started. After all problems with the luggage coming one and a half day behind us we settled to Viennana quite easily. First we learned to use the metro – U-Bahn, which is very easy way to move in a big city. Going under ground and popping up somewhere else was always an experience. Of course when you are in Vienna you have to enjoy music, and because of Mozarts 250th birthday we also did it. We enjoyed a concert of Mozart, Strauss, Haydn, Brahms etc. The music is global!


We travelled around the city visiting the places and people Ingrid had agreed for us. We came familiar with the folksongs from Vienna at the Verein für das Viennaer Volkslied, Dr. Susanne Schedtler gave us a very deep introduction to the lieds.  The visit to Juvivo 15 – kids-company and meeting Moni Libisch, (who also is a member of the drama group participating the project) was very interesting and the work they do is very important, in our point of view. The Austrian learners we met in the Heurigen, a wine cellar just out of the town of Vienna. The atmosphere in the Heurigen was very nice and the real Viennaerschnitzel in Vienna was delicious. After the dinner we visited an atelje of one the members from local drama group.


We had an insight to Austrian history and language, the lesson was held by Ingrid Wagenhofer. Later that day we went to a real Austrian café and met the older lady who had moved to Austria from Italy years ago. A walk through the garden of the imperial Palace of Schönbrunn was impressive. Last visit in Vienna we had with the immigrant association. We were confused with the number of members, because they had members as much as we have inhabitants in our municipality. The association seemed to be very lively and they do both old and new things, so their culture is alive.


Later the same day we said goodbye to Vienna and headed to Salzburg by train. And from Salzburg we travelled next day by bus to the little town of Bad Ischl. There we had interesting visits to the city museum, where we had a private tour with Ms. Maria Sams the manager of the museum. The museum was nice and they were preparing for an EU meeting to be held there. We also visited the free radio in Salzkammergut. The free radio was something new for us, and so far interesting. There we met the first person during the week who recognized the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. So we were friends from the very first moment. Mr Wilfrid Kefer was very interested in the festival and visiting Finland.

The last day in Salzburg and Austria we spent by having a walk in the old centrum. Looking at the house where Mozart was born. Buying Mozart Kugeln and then saying goodbye to Salzburg and having a train back to Vienna and airport with a big load of experiences and feelings of Austria, its culture and people.


Liisa Nikkilä

Project Co-ordinator Finland

7-14 March 2006 Austria goes to Malta


After a selection process and information talks in autumn 2005 The Business Club “AUSTRIALIA” appointed 5 learners to take part in the research on Maltese Culture and the Forum Theatre plays. The stay in Malta was prepared by drafting a programme for the week and arranging for meetings and excursions with the support of the Maltese partner – the Malta Drama Centre.

The Austrians in MaltaThe Greek and the Santa Claus

31 March—7 April 2006, Greece goes to Finland


             Five people from the Greek group visit Finland˙ Lilia and Lila, Maria and Maria and Kostas The Escort.

             On 31st of March the Greek team caught the flight from Thessaloniki to Helsinki, through Praque. From Helsinki we took the train to Kokkola. We wanted to enjoy the Finnish landscape! At Kokkola’s railway station, Liisa and Kai-Erik were waiting for us with their hugs open for us… Full with phosphorus stamps! You can understand why! Snow! A lot of snow… Immediately they drove us to Kaustinen, to a classic Finnish, wooden hostel - to a warm atmosphere- where Eila, Juhani and another Liisa took great care of us.

24-30 March 2006, Latvia goes to Greece



After a selection process and information talks in autumn 2005 The Akniste Amateur Drama group started the research on Greek Culture and the Forum Theatre plays. 4 learners out of the amateur actors were appointed for the research study trip to Greece. The stay in Greece was prepared by drafting a programme for the week and arranging for meetings and excursions with the support of the Greek partner- The Theatrical Team of Hortiatis Municipality.


The trip started on 24 March. The excitement and expectations of the learners and the Latvian project management were tremendous. For 2 learners it was the first trip abroad, the first meeting with a foreign culture in its natural environment. The group enjoyed Prague for some hours during a short stop on the flight to Thessaloniki, after midnight being welcomed on the Greek land by Mrs. Lilia Lytra and Mrs. Maria Papanikolau.


We were lucky to be present at the Greek national holiday on March 25. The day started with going to St George church in Asvestohori and attending the school march, followed by a short meeting with the local officials and a festive concert performed by the local amateur dance groups. The group enjoyed a traditional Greek lunch at Lilia's home devoted to her name day. It was a wonderful meeting with friendly Greek people in a homely atmosphere. The day of the great celebrations was finished by the performance "Hello Dolly" at the National Theatre of North Greece. The experience on the first day surpassed all the expectations.


The programme for the whole stay was rather tight. The second day in Greece was devoted to investigating the Greek history. The group was due for an excursion to an important archeological area- the ancient city of Alexander the Great, Vergina, 60 km from Thessaloniki, the Byzantine and archeological museum of Thessaloniki and two small churches in the mountains. The members of the group could see and touch the Ancient history once learnt at school. The feeling of the great Greek culture was all around. The same feeling was present at Ms Maria Papanikolaus’ parents` home where the group enjoyed a wonderful Sunday lunch among the family friends and colleagues engaged in lively Greek discussions.


Three mornings of the stay were dedicated to the Greek language. Besides learning a few Greek expressions and words like “Kalimera!” the group also received valuable information on Greek history and cultural heritage, education and its problems.


The group could walk around Thessaloniki getting the feeling of a large Greek town- the Aristotel Square, the shopping streets and markets, the White Tower and the numerous cafes and taverns on the very coast of the Mediterranian sea. For the Latvians it was a special treat to enjoy the first spring sun and the sight of the sea and ships. The night at a tavern with live Greek music of the 30ies with a touch of Turkish influence allowed the group to understand some  complicated pages of the Greek history.


Some members of the Theatrical Team were the guides of our group during the stay. The group had a meeting with the whole Greek team attending their aristotelic rehearsal. It provided the Latvians with a deeper insight into Aristotelic theater- its character and the possibilities to modernize the old plays. Some scenes were rehearsed showing the artistic level of the drama group, the professionalism of its leader Mrs. Lilia Lytra.

The Greek partners had prepared a special surprise for the final evening- a meeting with the consul of the Baltic countries in Thessaloniki. The meeting took place in the Olympic Centre. After a tour round the centre, a reception followed providing information on exchange programmes realized in Thessaloniki thanks to the activities of the consul and the office. Latvians again enjoyed themselves with Greek dishes.


In March 2007 the Latvian group will be back in Greece to put their discoveries and impressions in a Forum theatre play on stage for a Greek audience.

Akniste, 15 April 2006


Skaidrite Medvecka

Project Co-ordinator Latvia

2006, Malta goes to Latvia


Maltese drama in Latvia


A group of students from the Malta Drama Centre led by Mario Azzoppardi will be
performing in Latvia as part of an EU financed Community Theatre programme.

From The Independent:

The project was launched at the Malta Drama Centre last November, when participants from the respective countries met to explore how to create and present theatre that promotes active audience response and participation. Partners from Austria, Finland, Greece and Latvia are currently researching how knowledge about political systems, the media, social rituals, gender issues and leisure could contribute towards the creation of community drama in a ”destination” country.

The group of student-performers, accompanied by Mario Azzopardi, principal at the Malta Drama Centre, will be working with their Latvian theatre counterparts in Akniste, which promotes regional Community Theatre through its
resident group of actors attached to the municipality. Each country taking part in the project will suggest a relevant issue to be explored and concretised in dramatic form by the visiting troupe. All countries will then present their performances in a joint festival next year, to be held in Vienna.

In the case of Latvia, the Maltese actors have been asked to research the phenomenon of gender imbalance, where women are emerging as the stronger sex when it comes to the assumption of domestic and social responsibility. According to Mario Azzopardi, the Malta Drama Centre is a key protagonist in
similar projects. When it comes to researching, devising and presenting issue-based theatre, “the effectiveness of theatre work in a social context is being highlighted in many countries and Malta is often taking a leading role in this respect”, explains Mr Azzopardi..

Meanwhile, a group of six theatre researchers from Austria left Malta earlier this week. They spent time looking into issues such as illegal immigration, minority groups, hunting and trapping as well young people’s views on religion. The group, led by Ingrid Wagenhofer, will also transform the Maltese experience into “active, social drama”.

The Greek met the real Santa Claus, who comes from Finland.

             The very first day the Greek group was latecomer (5 minutes), while Kai-Erik was waiting for it in the middle of intense snowfall. Sorry Erik! Then, the first conducted tour in Kaustinen took place. That means visit to the Folks Art Center, the cellar, the super and mini market, the health spa center and other local shops. At night, there was a surprise for us. A welcome party! The Finnish drama group organized a party for us, in its own place, with a lot of food and alcohol. Afterwards, we went to a local restaurant and to a club named Antero (Finnish meaning: Antrew, Greek meaning: enteron, bowel), meeting many local people and discussing with them. And outside snow! A lot of snow…

             The next day, Liisa taught us Finnish history and because we were very good students, we got a very good reward! Makaras barbeque, snowslide, snowballing and a performance of Finnish traditional dances just for us! And outside snow! A lot of snow…

             The third day, we met many interesting people at the Folks Art Center. We learnt a lot of things about art in Finland and we visit a small instrument exhibition. At the end, a music class played traditional and modern Finnish songs for us. Of course we paid them back by teaching them a greek traditional song and dance. In the afternoon, accompanied by Liisa, we went to Kalvia, where we spent the night. There we had the opportunity to experience sauna, followed by dips in snow (Finnish way - which turned the Greeks into ice cubes!). And outside snow! A lot of snow…

             The fourth day, we visited the secondary school in Kalvia. We relaxed in the white room and saved energy for that difficult day! We met the drama group, attending a rehearsal, and talked with its professor. Immediately, we whirled for Salonkyla, where we visited the primary school. We met lovely students there, talked with them and played with them floor-hockey! As we were dramatically defeated by the small children, we decide to leave immediately! After primary school we visited Kaustinen Music College. After that we went to a dancing lesson in the Kalliopavilion. And outside snow! A lot of snow…

             The fifth day, we visited Kokkola with Kai-Erik We went to Kokkola’s Theater, where we attended a very good performance, “Pessi I Illusia”, which was about a Finnish legend. Afterwards, we visited Kokkola’s Music School and Institute, where we attended by chance a drama group of young people who faked a line about the national problems of Finland! That’s luck! Then, we had the chance to walk around the city. Back to Kaustinen, we attended a rehearsal of the Catholics’ choir inside their church and by the night we went to karaoke party in Kaustinen. Of course, we did not loose the opportunity to sing! And outside snow! A lot of snow…

             The sixth day, we went for a walk in the forest. We really enjoy the walk among so many tall trees and so much snow, but we really felt sorrow when we saw hundreds of cut trees. The view was indescribable! At that moment we were at the work-place of two timber jacks, who could cut a hundred trees per hour with their super modern technology. Then, we visited the hippodrome, where we saw cold blooded horses, running around. Afterwards, we went to the horse school. We were really excited for visiting that school, as there are not such in Greece. Generally, we were really amazed by the modern, Finnish school system. The last night was the farewell night, which took place at the sauna place at our hostel. We experienced smoke sauna with all the spiritual things and had fun with our new Finnish friends. Everyone was there! Even Santa Claus! And outside snow! A lot of snow…

             Our schedule in Finland was rather tight, but that’s why we managed to see and learn so many things about our research – country. We want to thank all our Finnish friends for their willingness to show as their country! And also thank you for the lovely weather!


Lilia Lytra & Maria Papanikolau

Thessaloniki, Greece