BY JOY OFASIA
SOLOMON Women ask local female theatre artist what she love about acting and what it means to her. From creating and directing small plays to stage theatre artist, she tell us in her own words why she love performing. Read on for the full story.
- Brief introduction of your self-including your age and province
My name is Gloria Konare, I’m 32 years and from Sulufou Island of Malaita Province. I always love creating and directing plays/ acts and love working with people from different backgrounds, age, culture etc. One of my core value /passion I hold close to my heart is respect and helping those who can’t able to help themselves and offering them a space where they can feel free to express themselves and value who they are as good citizens of Solomon Islands.
- Introduce your career?
I humbly began my acting career in 2013 when I worked as a Theatre Actor/ Performing Artist for the Stages of Change Theatre Organization (SOC). SOC is a unique powerful community Theatre project that use theatre skills to empower women to advocate against GBV and contribute to reduce (violence against women and girls), and increased Women’s participation in civil society and peace-making in Solomon Islands.
The project was started and funded by the European Union in collaboration with the British Council New Zealand and the British High Commission in Honiara from 2013 to 2015 and was directed by New Zealand’s top Professional Theatre Company – The Conch. You can follow SOC on stages of firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through this career our Theatre group had the honour to represent Solomon Islands and performed on many International Festivals, Summits, Conferences in PNG 2015,UN Summit Samoa 2014(side-line-event), Fiji 2015 , New Zealand 2014 , Brussels (Europe 2015, and received British Council Encounters Award in Guam in 2016.
In May 2014 -2016, my dreams came into reality, when I was offered a gold opportunity to train and work abroad as a professional actor for the Conch Theatre Company in New Zealand. I felt so fortunate to be part of this huge journey as I worked under top professionals and representing Solomon Islands in one of New Zealand’s major Theatre Production ‘MARAMA’. As an Ambassador it is with great honour for the first time in history for Solomon Islands Theatre to be seen on a world class stage. I can’t forget that very day when we walked into the civic centre towards Q Theatre in Auckland, and saw our national country’s flag flew high amongst other countries. It was truly a pride moment but at the same time I felt so emotional too thinking about our humble journey that begins from Solomon Islands where there are no Theatre/ Drama schools but yet we set feet on world class stage with great joy and represent Solomon Islands. MARAMA was a powerful Theatre production that was world premiered at the Auckland Arts Festival in 2016.
After returning from Auckland Arts Festival 2016, our vision and passion to invest and passed skills, talents and knowledge and help out in schools, youth groups, communities etc. And Today, I’m so pleased to share our work which I had involved in leading 3 major (Social Action Projects) theatre projects around Solomon Islands on: Gender Base Violence (Violence Against Women and girls and Domestic Violence), Gender Equality and Civic Awareness (Voters Educational awareness programs) – all done through the medium of theatre in a strong effort to advocate for change and contributing to help address the social injustice issues in Solomon Islands. So far, we have successfully worked with17 rural communities in Solomon Islands, training over 100 community actors who continue to cascade the work down to other communities, making social impacts and continue changing lives.
- Can you give a brief introduction of your tertiary education-?
I did my Form 7 Arts at King George Sixth National School in 2005.
In 2006 – 2007, I began my degree level programs (Bachelor in Arts) at the University of the South Pacific (Solomon Islands Centre).
Without completing that, I changed my study program and decided to do Business Studies (Finance program) at SINU from 2008 -2011. In between 2011- 2013, it was like an employment period for me.
Then In 2014, as part of my professional development training, I went over NZ to train and worked with the international acclaimed The CONCH Theatre Company NZ.
To me, The Conch was like my University because it gave me the privilege to see the real world of ARTS and how it plays a major role as a catalyst- that keeps driving, influencing and making social impacts/changes. Besides that, we had the opportunity to visit universities and facilitate small theatre trainings/ workshops for some students at: University of Samoa, PNG and NZ
- Is acting your passion?
Yes, I see Acting as my passion. Can you please explain why? So in 2013, after resigning from my job (Finance and Administration), I began working and committed most of my time volunteering for SOC. Life is quite tough and challenging but we keep pushing forward. In 2015, we registered SOC as a local charitable organization. In 2017 to date, 3 of our social Action Theatre projects were funded and fully supported by Oxfam International, British High Commission and the UNDP. Today we generate income from that passion into profession and will continue to working as entrepreneurs to keep the sustainability of our community service work and organization moving forward.
- What is one thing you love most about acting or part of your career?
Being working in this career in theatre, it changed my life as it allows me to openly express and believe in myself. More importantly, it is through this platform that I developed my passion into profession and built strong network and connections with international Theatre companies, Art organizations and Artists globally who are like my mentors, teachers and inspirations.
Early this month December 2018, I was in United Kingdom – London on British Council Active Citizens International Study Visit Program to see and learn U.K’s social, economic, political and cultural aspect of developments. As part of the program we met up, make connections and visited with many inspiring Arts organizations. These organizations, have been very committed and shared a common purpose and passion ‘ARTS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE’ personally for me, it was a real gift to have connections and take back relevant ideas that would add value to our work. A bonus of the study trip was the historical visits to the U.K National Parliament, The Clarence House and the Buckingham Palace.
- Are there challenges that you face in your career? Can you share some?
ANS- Yes, we can have all the creative skills, talents and knowledge- but if we don’t a creative place/space, it becomes a challenge. So it is my dream one day for Solomon Islands to recognise the key role and value of Arts /Theatre and work towards establishing performing Arts centre/Theatre. An inclusive place that people (unemployed youth population, school drop outs, youths, women, people with disabilities etc.) can have access to. It is through this place that reveal and bring in wealth of raw talents and offer people the chance to learn and practise professional skills in creative areas. This is a great opportunity that would enrich them individually and the greater community.
Thus we understand Theatre requires courage and collaboration and context. It is the mark of a community willing to move forward: not by rejecting the past but by using it as a springboard to propel the nation into the future; by finding in its own stories, traditional, historic, angry and intimate a voice that signals to the world, this is us .Solomon Islands is a place of story. These stories tie our place and people together and it reveal who we are as unique Solomon Islanders .This is the Solomon Islands. (Rose Lawry).
- What can you share to women and girls in this Christmas festive season?
As we all know Christmas festive season is just around the corner and it is always the best time of the year to spend quality moments with our dearest families/friends. Whenever or wherever you will be spending your x-mas and New Year’s festive celebrations, always remember take responsibility and take special care.
- Is there anything else that you would like to share?
For our women and girls – you can achieve your dreams when you set our goals right and working hard successfully to achieve it. Voluntarism, Integrity, Reliability, Loyalty, Trust, Dedication, are keys to success. Always believe in yourself because you are unique, talented, beautiful and powerful.