Back in 2010, Odd Eyes started as a peer-led project using theatre to support integration for people with experience of migration and those speaking English as a second language. Our holistic workshops Accent on Acting and our course programme offered a creative space to anyone facing the challenges of starting life in a new Country. Since then, we continue to collaborate with colleges, refugee groups and art organisations running our programme for migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and English second language speakers across London and internationally.
Read about Accent on Acting
Our Programme for English second language speakers is based on creative and educational methodologies specifically developed over the past ten years during our work with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The programme is designed to improve communication as well as boosting confidence and a sense of belonging.
Basic acting techniques, poetry and improvisation allow participants to learn language through simple games, shifting the focus from goal-based academic learning to stressful-free play, proven to stimulate memory and team building. With our Creative Debate methodologies, participants are able to develop writing and speaking techniques whilst sharing their unique personal experience by creating short plays based on their real life. We use Commedia dell’Arte, singing and movement-based techniques with participants speaking English at Beginners level, offering them a chance to express themselves in non-verbal comic and dramatic forms. Verbatim theatre and short film documentaries are designed to give a chance to participants to develop acting skills and transferable communication skills whilst sharing their personal experience. Academic subjects such as formal English Language and Accent Reduction classes complement creative sessions.
Peer support and mentoring
All workshops are facilitated by qualified tutors. Most of our tutors come from international background and speak English as a second language, offering peer support to participants and acting as mentors.
Duration and structure
We offer weekly courses of 6 to 8 weeks (average: 1 hour each, depending on the group size); intensive week end workshops and year-long programmes.
All programmes are customised for each group and needs of the organisations we partner with, keeping in mind complex needs, level of English and interest in specific art forms we can offer (film, theatre, singing, movement).
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Participants to our past workshops progressed to further study and careers. Through our programme, they acquired practical tools to overcome cultural and language barriers, developed confidence in themselves and made long-lasting friendships.
“At the course I was working with people I only just met and it was quite new to me but I learned to trust people, to be confident in sharing my ideas because we were always encouraged to input in the process. This is making a huge difference in my personal life and I am finding out a new confidence in introducing myself and working in groups.” (Gulay, 56 from Turkey, Akwaaba womens refugee programme 2018)
Our programme of workshops promotes social mobility by offering a neutral training ground where participants are free to practice their second-language and develop their communication skills:
“When I joined the workshops I was going for job interviews. My English was ok but I am a shy person and wouldn’t open my mouth. Now I work in a clothes store and I am much more confident: whenever I feel nervous, I remembered the techniques about stage-fright and body language, I check myself and find the confidence to speak.” (Linda, 22 from Latvia, Babylon programme 2016)