Natalia (Nat)

Cypriot Delegation, 2002
Seeds of Peace Fellow, 2016

IMPACT: SOCIAL

Developing an applied theater toolkit for international conflict transformation practitioners.

How has Seeds of Peace had an impact on you?

Being part of Seeds of Peace had a great impact on me and affected my attitude towards my own country, its history and people. I started living my life in Cyprus thinking about my land as one piece, forgetting that there are check points between people living on the same land and making sure I crossed them regularly to go to the beach in the north, to meet my Turkish Cypriot friend and go out or just, later on, drive around on small road trips.

I learned how to have discussions about the Cyprus issue without being emotional about it, which later helped me in my studies to become a teacher and a drama practitioner because now I constantly interact with children and young people who carry with them opinions from their family environments and it is always challenging to develop dialogue with them without being biased or emotional.

Having finished my studies abroad and worked for a while in London, I decided to return to Cyprus and implement what I had learned in projects in my own country. My first project was a bi-communal project, and I attribute my great need to be part of a bi-communal youth project and run it successfully to my personal experience as a Seed.

How are you impacting your community?

I am based in Cyprus, working as a freelance drama practitioner. I have founded my own NGO and I design and implement arts projects.

I hold a BA (Hons) degree in Classics from the University College of London and a Master of Arts in Applied Theatre (Drama in Education and Drama in the community) from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

I have had the opportunity to work as a drama practitioner with a variety of organizations in the UK and in Cyprus as well as participate as a trainer in various projects in Cyprus and abroad. I am the co-founder of TheatrEtc., an NGO based in Cyprus that builds initiatives that address social issues through the use of applied theatre tools.

My first project was Crossroads Youth Theatre Camp for young people from the Turkish- and Greek-speaking communities of Cyprus, ages 15-18. Its main focus is the use of theatre as a tool for communication, team building and creative expression. As an organized group of practitioners/artists, we also take part in artistic collaborations between Greek- and Turkish-speaking Cypriot artists, on projects involving mostly young people and children.

I hope to be able to contribute, even just a bit, towards preparing our society for a peaceful, shared future by working with the younger generations and making sure they have the chance—like I did—to meet, listen, talk to the ‘other side’ and find ways to embrace and accept it.

I currently live in Nicosia, where I head the educational programs of the Cyprus Theatre Museum.

I partnered with Süleyman for our GATHER Fellowship, during which we set out to scale the work that we have been doing for years in Cyprus at the multicultural youth camp, Crossroads. Through the Fellowship, we developed new business models and created partnerships that are aimed at bringing our theatre-based conflict transformation work to new audiences and to ensure the financial sustainability/independence of our work long-term.

EDUCATION

• MA in Applied Theatre, Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2010
• BA, University College of London, 2009

AWARDS

• Leverhulme Trust Fund Award, 2010. Awarded funding to launch the ‘Crossroads’ Bi-communal Youth Theater Camp

WORK

Co-Founder of TheatrEtc. »
• Director of Crossroads Youth Theatre Camp
• Lead facilitator of Remove the Power Anti-bullying Project
• Freelance Theatre Practitioner

“I hope to be able to contribute, even just a bit, towards preparing our society for a peaceful, shared future by working with the younger generations and making sure they have the chance—like I did—to meet, listen, talk to the ‘other side’ and find ways to embrace and accept it.”