As our search for good practices of social inclusion continues, AddArt presents to you the En Dynamei Ensemble for people with and without disability.
En Dynamei was formed in 2008 as a theatre group by Helen Dimopoulou and Maria Ioannidou, both parents of kids with mental disabilities. The two mothers had enough of the repetitive and unimaginative daily routine followed by special schools and childcare centres, so they took it upon themselves to propose a new way for children with disabilities to make progress towards social integration and practical skill development. 12 years later, En Dynamei Ensemble operates as an NGO in the city of Thessaloniki, constituted of a mixed and fluid group of around 50 artists, both able- bodied and with disabilities. The ensemble was initially focused on working with teenagers, but as time went on adults were also incorporated in the theatre group. The theatrical activities undertaken by the group aim towards body strengthening, speech improvement/articulation, cultivation of team spirit, trust, empathy, communication skills, eye contact and discipline.
En Dynamei consists of two teams with interchangeable members throughout the years: ‘Reds’ are usually amateur or professional actors and participate on a voluntary basis, while ‘Greens’ are people with disabilities, with or without previous experience in theatre. Throughout the activities, all members of the ensemble must form pairs with a person of the opposite colour, essentially facilitating the integration process. En Dynamei mainly focuses on creating & staging original plays and participating in local & international theatre festivals.
The ensemble has made a number of breakthroughs through the years, mainly in the field of independence and self-sufficiency for its members. The Red/Green ratio used to be 1:1, but many Green veterans have made significant progress so as not to require a Red pair, and taking it even further, they can now pair up with other Green members to provide assistance and guidance throughout the activities.
To this day, En Dynamei Ensemble has created a trilogy of original plays with themes like family & disability, the current condition of institutions for disabled people and the universal right to love. Travelling around Greece and abroad for performances is a fundamental part of the group’s operation, offering the greatest chances for bonding experiences between team members and social integration. The ensemble has also implemented other projects such as art exhibitions, guided tours and voluntary cooking at elderly homes.
Have a look at their official Facebook page to get to know more about En Dynamei Ensemble!