Report: “Public Service Learning (Internship)”
During the second term of the first grade of the RESPECT program, students get out from the university, and work as interns in various organizations, which include NPOs, schools, public organizations, and so on. As in previous years, students learn many things related to multicultural issues working as interns. Asami Koizumi, who is one of the RESPECT students and belongs to a master’s program at the Graduate school of literature, worked as an intern at a theater. She reports as following:
Civil participatory events for performing arts at the May Theater
The May Theater is a public hall in Suita city. We usually imagine a public hall to be a space to rent in order to showcase our hobbies or to see performing arts. However, because of the May Theater’s remit to promote civil cultural activities and to contribute to regional cultural creations, here citizens can join various events such as singing in a chorus, performing in theater plays and musicals which are organized and performed with professionals. That is why I made the request to complete an internship at the May Theater.
How do the staff members organize these events? The staff of May Theater first select a professional team and hold workshops to allow us to experience various genres of performing arts. They utilize the relationship with the local community or cultural circles to create regional works. They cooperate with educational institutions and invite them to join the performing arts. It is important to share culture and the arts with children and students, who do not usually come to public halls. I joined a production and rehearsal of a theater play organized in association with Osaka university. I saw various citizens, from teens to sixties, as well as a professional writer and directors among other professionals mingled together in one place. This year the work was based on the traditional dance of the Yamada district, Gonroku Odori. After a discussion on the regional characters, I was surprised how all of the participants learned the dance, from elderly people to young people. They experienced the process of a production with the help of the staff and created a new work.
At the end of my internship, I noticed that staff members at the May Theater work to connect people of various ages, regional cultures, and professionals in Western Japan (the Kansai region). Furthermore, their activities aim at not only bringing success to participatory events but also enriching local citizens’ lives with culture and the arts. As a result, they can create a place for citizens to congregate and achieve social inclusion. I appreciated the staff members who allowed me to witness many invigorating examples of participatory events.