One of Tomek Mikusinski’s impressions of Gen Rosso’s German tour in a letter he wrote to our editorial team on behalf of the whole troupe before they set off for the Czech Rebublic.
The German tour began in Heidelberg- 200 teenagers in the run-up to the sacrament of confirmation freely gave up part of their winter holidays to parttake in “Strong without Violence”, a tried and tested educational project, carried out thanks to collaboration between Gen Rosso and various schools in a number of European countries.
500,000 young people have taken part in the project to date. The European Union sponsors this project based on the group’s musical Streetlight: the true story of Charles Moates who grew up in one of Chicago’s ghettos in the 60’s. Following the ideal of a united world Charles was always opposed to violence and this choice cost him his life in 1969.
Drawing on this inspirational figure, the project strives to transmit values that help young people combat violence, marginalisation, bullying and other problems facing teenagers in their urban environments. The conclusion of the teenagers’ work was displayed in the Eppelheimer Rhein-Neckar-Halle, with 1,100 paying audience members. The novelty of this year’s tour was the “Doku-Workshop”: participants made a documentary which covered the whole week’s activities right including the build-up to the show and the audience’s arrival in the theatre. Its photos and interviews about Gen Ross’s daily life and their work on the road was screened during the evening.
The next leg of the tour was in Bonn with 13 workshops and over 500 participants. After that came a strongly multiethnic school in Dortmund. Last off was Cologne where the troupe had a particularly special experience with young students with hearing difficulties. “I am proud of my students”, said the principal of the LVR-Johann-Joseph-Gronewald School, “because putting on a musical despite hearing difficulties is obviously a huge challenge. I thank those who had the idea for this indispensable project and for the huge opportunity given to my students”.
“Gen Rosso, you absolutely must keep this project up because it really, really helps us young people!”, wrote one of the participants on the group’s Facebook page, confirming the worthiness of an idea that is spreading more and more among students throughout Europe.