Scars (Cicatrices) and The Class (La Clase)

Eastern Antioquia in the north of Colombia is one of the regions that has suffered most in the ongoing armed conflict. The backdrop to the formative years of many of the educators that presently work in the towns and villages in the region has been that of massacres, forced displacements, combats, forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, rape and plunder. During 2016 to 2018 many of these teachers participated in theatre pedagogy workshops where they weaved together the stories of personal experiences during the conflict whilst being formed as theatre teachers, to later replicate what they had learned with their own pupils.

The theatre pedagogy process was headed by Inge Kleutgens, a theatre director and educator working with the German coóperation agency AGEH, and also five other Colombian theatre teachers. The project was supported and hosted by Coredi, an formal educational corporation that provides primary and secondary education to children and adolescents in Antioquia, and is the employer of the educators that took part in the workshops.

Here I present a small collection of material in the form of an itinerant exhibition that currently tours towns and villages and audio-visual material that has been used to illustrate and explain the process and the stories of resistance and suffering related to the armed conflict in the region.

Camera, sound, edition, and design by Paul Smith

Filming was done over two and a half days: one a whistle-stop tour of the small towns of San Carlos, San Rafael and Granada; the rest of the time in the rehearsals in La Ceja and the Marinilla performance. The players are a group of teachers from COREDI, a rural education institute in the region, and their students and their families. The tutors of the school teachers during the filming days were Inge Kleutgens, Felipe Vergara & Adriana Ospina.

Sony alpha 7RII w/24-70/f4

Filming was done over three and a half days visiting the towns and villages where the themes touched-upon in La Clase occurred. Some were related to the armed conflict, including cases of extrajudicial killings known as “false positives”, recruiting of minors to armed groups, repercussions, and the massacres of combatant by opposing groups, as well themes related to local beliefs and hardships in the countryside. The protagonists again are a group of teachers from COREDI, and also the pupils in their rural school.

Sony alpha 7RII w/24-70/f4 and 200mm f2.8

Itinerant exhibition of Scars (Cicatrices) and The Class (La Clase)

An additional product which came out of the theatre pedagogy workshops was an itinerant exhibition on all-weather verticle banners with images and texts from the presentations which tours the municipalities of the region being hung in churches, canteens, community centres and also on the street.

texts in Spanish written by Inge Kleutgens and the participating educators.

The itinerant exhibition banners in the canteen of Coredi (Marinilla, Antioquia) and in the Casa de Santander museum (Cúcuta, Norte de Santander).