A new theatrical workshop begins in Nicosia, a first for Cyprus, as The Autism Theatre project seeks to consist of adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum, of high functionality (level 1), otherwise known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Via a weekly meeting at Entos ton Technwn in old Nicosia led by Despina Chrysanthou, the project aims at creating a troupe to actively perform on stage.

The first year though will work mostly as an identifier, to get participants comfortable with each other and the world of theatre. “Individuals, unknown to each other, belonging to the autism spectrum, must connect and get familiar with the concept of the group,” say the project organisers. “They also need to familiarise themselves with the theatrical practice and confront their desire to be part of this group. So, the therapeutic part inevitably exists, but secondarily, for example, is the development of social skills through role-playing games. The ultimate goal of the group, however, is the production of an artistic result.

“Through theatrical practice,” they add, “we are called to make a journey of self-knowledge, to confront ourselves, to overcome the limits we have set for ourselves and to discover new channels of communication with both our inner self and our environment.”

Leading the sessions will be Chrysanthou who for the past 10 years has been involved in the guidance of theatrical workshops for both neurotypical minors and adults. In addition, she has been working with groups of people on the autism spectrum in the last eight years as a hippo-therapist as well as a trainer of ‘social skills development’ groups. Classes will be held every Friday afternoon at the old Nicosia arts venue, aiming to bring artistic expression to more members of society.

The Autism Theatre Project

Weekly theatre workshops for people with autism. By Despina Chrysanthou. Every Friday. Entos ton Technwn, Nicosia. 5.30pm-6.30pm. Tel: 99-882988. [email protected]