The Heritage Project is a community art concept for children created by Hans Blok. The project guides children to use their cultural and environmental heritage to make a music and theatre show. The project had its start off in Sri Lanka in 2012 and has since then been organised in Jordan, Ecuador, Thailand, Latvia and Norway.
The project aims to make people aware about the importance of cultural heritage, as well as preserving local environments. In addition it challenges participants to collaborate with each other and reveal (hidden) talents. Using flexibility and improvisation means that projects can run on a low budget and include children with all kinds of backgrounds. Numbers of participants may vary between ten to hundreds.
The Heritage Project is not an organisation and does not choose to be so. It is, as the name says, a project and a concept in itself with its own purposes. For each project a team of instructors and volunteers ensures that the project comes to a success. The project has worked with refugees and children from indigenous communities. Collaborations with local groups and organisations ensure the most authentic performance and fairest benefit for its participants.
The project is scheduled to run in numerous countries, raising awareness about the values of tradition, culture and environment, and by inspiring children to express themselves through art.
The children of St. David Toboh school in Tambunan, Malaysia rehearsed and performed a music and teatre play based on “The Legend of Gombunan”. Musical instruments and other props were made from the bamboo growing around the village and the performance was enjoyed by parents and teachers.
The Heritage Project worked with the children of Shree Janajagriti school in Poobari, Nepal. The project week was during the Tihar Festival and this became also the theme for the workshop. With a large crowd as audience, including the major, the children put up a three hour performance where they demonstrated the events and meaning of the Tihar festival.
The Heritage Project worked on two different schools with the Karen people in Northern Thailand. In Som Poi and Mor Wa Kee village the children used their native story “Puj’s Da” about the seven brothers and the monster Deif Muj Bau. The children made musical instruments and decorations out of bamboo growing in the villages. Their traditional clothes made the whole performance very colourful.
With Bispehaugen Mottaksklasse we practiced the Norwegian story “Hakkebakkeskogen” and made three performances out of it. With just four days of intense rehearsals the 20 children with all kinds of cultural backgrounds developped themselves artistically and socially by learning to work together as a group.
In the summer of 2016 the Heritage Project was organized at the LatvianClassicalMusicFestival. Around 60 children from 8-18 years old participated in a Latvian story called “Spriditis”. After four days of intense rehearsing the play was performed at the Cesvaine Castle which functioned as an excellent stage.
HERO Refugee Centre Trondheim 2016
The Heritage Project in collaboration with Verdige Smil worked with around 15 refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Sudan. In the project week the participants made their own drums and rehearsed the traditional songs of each others cultural heritage.
Hans Blok organised the Heritage Project in the deep jungles of Ecuador in 2015. With the Kichwa people from a local village near El Coca and several Ecuadorian volunteers a play about Toredo and his magic flute was performed.
In May 2014 Hans Blok organised the Heritage Project in the Al Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Around 50 young Syrian refugees joined the project by making a theatre show for the others in the camp. Because of the tense situation and strict rules it was unfortunaltely not allowed to make any photos or video recordings of the project and the participants.
Sri Lanka 2012
In August 2012 Hans Blok and Lars Halvard Sutterud organised the Heritage Project on two schools in Sri Lanka. The story was based on the character of Mahadahamutta. This old but clumsy man would save the frightened villagers from the terrifying monster by finding musicians and dancers.