As part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign, UN in Armenia collaborated with EVN Community Theatre, in collaboration with IOM Mission in Armenia, Women's Support Centre and Women’s Resource Centre, to present three short plays that addressed the issues of domestic violence, gender equality, and trafficking in women. The plays were produced through the format of a 24-hour theatre - an experimental form of theatre, where volunteer writers, directors and actors create, rehearse, and perform one-act 10-15-minute plays within a span of 24 hours.
The three performances told stories of women and their different experiences of gender-based violence. The first play called “They Would Tell, They Would Think” takes the spectator through short scenes of everyday life where females have to face gender inequality. In a final dramatic juxtaposition, a male character finds that gender roles have been reversed and that he must now face the realities of gender inequality.
The performance “Girl in Suitcase” portrays a case of labor exploitation. It shows how a well-organized, seemingly legitimate recruitment process for a job opportunity abroad, can quickly turn into a situation where one is no longer in control and becomes a victim of trafficking. Women and girls account for about 80% of the known victims of trafficking, thus making the trafficking another manifestation of gender-based violence.
The third play, “From Time to Time,” tells the story of a woman’s survival of domestic violence and journey to self-empowerment. After realizing her love for life and the preciousness of time, she decides to take control of her future and fight for her own happiness.
The impact of the initiative was more powerful due to the direct involvement of three survivors of domestic abuse who participated as actors. The performances were followed by a panel discussion that brought together experts in the field of domestic violence, gender equality and trafficking in humans. This created an open space for the audience to share their thoughts on the plays’ themes and ask questions about how these issues affect Armenia.
Thanks to the talented and courageous participants, this initiative demonstrated how performing arts can be used as a medium to promote community development and raise public awareness about important social issues through telling human stories in an engaging and creative way.