In January and May 2019, Olivia Yan invited theatre director and teacher David Glass to run two week-long workshops in Hong Kong based on the training of David Glass Ensemble’s Lost Child that David Glass developed from 1997-2004 in 22 countries. At the heart of the Lost Child Project is the use of theatre and arts to empower marginalised children and young people to express through devised theatre the mythic and personal stories.
Such was the interest and passion from artists, performers, social workers, teachers and psychologists it was decided to undertake a longer more sustained training to deepen the techniques and exploration around this very worrying but relevant subject of child and youth suicide, self harm and mental health.
It was also decided that the local and universal relevance of the subject because of the rise in Mental Health issues and Youth Suicide in Hong Kong and the world, a broader more sustained creative response was required with the result of a number of strands emerging.
The decision to adapt David Glass Ensemble’s hugely successful Lost Child Project model was made, as this is an enormously flexible and cultural framework to deal creatively with a powerfully sensitive and challenging subject. But also by Olivia Yan and David Glass’s leading through partnership on this project, two esteemed International Artists whose reputations for pioneering and innovative work would bring the vital experience, professionalism, robustness and stature to this extraordinary subject. As well as attracting important partners, expertise and resources and thereby enabling a strong foundation for the vision, passion and ambition of this project to grow.
Nowadays, children and adolescents are having enormous pressure from schools, families and society. They are as stressful as grown-ups. In view of this phenomenon, Lost Child in HK will initiate a series of collaboration with individual artists, professionals and various organisations, in order to draw the society’s attention to the issue so that more forces can be brought together to rebuild a better environment for our next generations’ healthy development.
Child and Youth Suicide in Hong Kong is on the rise, as it is around the world. Mental Health and Wellness are climbing up the agendas of many organisations both in schools, homes and work places. And it is realised amongst politicians if you have a mental health crisis in the Young , you will eventually have a Future crisis in society.
Out of the first workshop a vision has grown that the issue of Child and Youth Suicide can be seen as one of the defining aspects of the 21st century and a window through which we might see a way forward into a uncertain and troubling future. And an equally creative and visionary approach was needed using Arts and Culture as the ‘safe space’ framework to approach and explore this culturally sensitive subject. Perhaps the ONLY way. Story and storytelling through theatre and theatre process is one of the most powerful tools for exploring and safely experiencing subjects as passionate and challenging as Child and Youth Suicide.
A number of strands that run over four phases of creative activity that will have a wide range of focuses and ‘outcomes’ and will build to create a number of events, workshops, symposiums, performances, festivals and legacy.
Learning Workshops, Seminars and Symposiums around this emerging issue and ‘Creative Practice techniques’ to engage and explore it.
A Festival that profiles, integrates and celebrates the voices of the young and the issues around mental health and youth suicide through workshops, performance and other’s arts event.
‘The River of Ophelia’ An International Co-production of an original work of Devised Physical Theatre Created by David Glass and Olivia Yan.
Legacy in the form of a Lost Child Hong Kong Institute that teaches the creative practice and continues to work Nationally and Internationally to advocate for Youth Wellbeing through Creativity and the Arts. Also a Documentary Film expressing the journey of the project would be a permanent and moving expression of the extraordinary life of the project through the people, communities and experiences that would come together over these three years.