Pacific Personalities Interview: Dreamcast Theatre
Dreamcast Theatre is the leading youth theatre company in the Solomon Islands allowing young actors, photographers, artists and other creatives a space to showcase and develop their passions while pushing for social change through advocacy on social issues. Run by volunteers, the theatre is based in Chinatown, Honiara. In this interview, Dreamcast Creative Director Neil Nuia has provided us some background into the great work of Dreamcast Theatre.
What motivated the creation of Dreamcast Theatre?
The creation of Dreamcast Theatre was motivated by the post-Tension social climate (amongst other things). The Tension Period caused a high number of uneducated youths, coupled with a high number of high school dropouts, resulting in an environment with a rapidly increasing number of youth issues. It was not until 2005, when a group of young people residing in the Tuvaruhu neighbourhood of Central Honiara, came together and formed Dreamcast Theatre. The founders, Kennedy Folasi and friends, saw the need to use community drama to encourage peace among young people.
What does Dreamcast do for the youth of Solomon Islands?
Dreamcast allows youth to come together and belong to a collective that actively encourages them to believe in their agency as citizens of Solomon Islands - it believes in young people. Dreamcast as a hub, is a home for young people. Artistically-inclined or not, they find a haven where they are exposed to a wide spectrum of arts to express themselves freely; to find their own voice in a nation that culturally and systematically continues to pay lip service to youth. A narrative we are trying to change.
What sort of artists does Dreamcast work with?
Dreamcast works across a spectrum of artists. With the filming and theatre component, there are actors and actresses. The membership has grown in its inclusivity as more people with disabilities have recently joined. Specifically, we have recently had an influx of people with visual impairment and blindness following our recent collaboration with the Blind Visually Impaired People Solomon Islands (BVIPSI).
The filming component branches out to cover an array of areas that are in themselves an art as it takes skill to execute these roles. We have our audio people, our videographers, editors, producers, and directors. We have a gaffer/lighting enthusiast who is mentoring another youth under his department. He is an integral part to all the other performing arts. With our in-house studio, we have artists and film score makers covering different genres as well as voice artists for advertisements aired on radio or television. We have phenomenal musicians that usually perform during our open mics or set the ambience at our public events. This also covers ethno-cultural musicians.
We have visual artists as well whose creativity flows onto the stage in the creation of our theatre sets and is seen in the physical presentation of the Dreamcast Art Hub. We also have writers who usually take on the script writing, for any films or videos, and written content creating roles. We have dance crews and choreographers in our midst as well. DC Pirates is our in-house evolving dance crew with a twist, who preach dance advocacy (advocating for issues through dance). A few cultural dancers are also under our roof, this area is one where everyone else joins in. Amongst other things, photographers are a huge part of our artist base and are actively cultivating their niche as freelance photographers in social movements and the general Honiara public space for any events that know of their respectable reputations. Last but not the least, our makeup artists are responsible for getting actresses and actors ready for filming and theatre as well as for photoshoots that they do in collaboration with the photographers.
What programs does Dreamcast offer and what events does Dreamcast have coming up that they would love to share with our audience?
We have open mic events coming up! A gathering of musicians and artists is currently happening with our Ethno-music camp. We also have theatre classes, theatre movement classes with Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA), and theatre training for communities including disability inclusive such as the blind and deaf at San Isidro. How can youths of Solomon Islands become a part of this organisation?
In terms of membership, we've always had an "Open Gate" policy. You are considered a Dreamcast member as soon as you enter our gates. However, we are now establishing a proper registration system, and all youths of all arts and hobbies are invited to participate.
What message does Dreamcast want to give to the youths?
There is a multitude of encouraging messages we as Dreamcast would like to impart to our wonderful youths of Solomon Islands. However, these messages are succinctly captured in two of our grounding mottos. These mottos are our triumphant chant after a public performance – anchoring the whole motive behind Dreamcast – our famous 3Ds' and our 3Cs'. The 3Ds’ include:
“What do we do? Dream Big!”
“How do we do it? Drive Dreams!”
“What is our name? Dreamcast!”
While the 3Cs’ include:
Never give up, continue to apply the 3Cs' in whatever ways you can and always DREAM BIG and DRIVE DREAMS. These two mottos interplay in so many ways and it is up to each youth as to how they employ them.
For more information about Dreamcast Theatre, please see the links below.