The School of Comedy and Mime is an innovative project to educate young people of Granada who are in precarious family situations where poverty, drug abuse, physical/sexual abuse, gangs and other criminal activity are an unfortunate part of daily life.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country of Latin America.
Through theatre, clowning, mime and circus skills students will discover how to respect themselves and others when taught that they can make a living through this art.
The School is a project of Saperoco. A Venezuelan traveling company of mimes, clowns and puppeteers that made its stage debut in November 1978.
The dream of the school came out from the summary of experiences of the group and its work in villages and cities across its native country, in Brazil and Central America where the problems and needs of young people of marginalized neighborhoods are very similar.
During 1999 Central America tour school proposal was well received in Granada and the project started in April 2001. We were able to reach our goal of attracting children from low-income families. The fact that absenteeism has been minimal indicated that we were on the right track and that we needed to not only continue our efforts, but indeed increase them.
The school has a multidisciplinary character that includes performing, comedy, mime, clowning, juggling, acrobatics, puppetry, English, computers, accounting, marketing and art and entertainment- management.
Through this integrated curriculum, students will be involved in the physical aspects of art and the skills of craftsmanship, as well as unique approaches that will help them improve study skills through individual and cooperative learning techniques. These skills will assist them in the work they choose to earn a living.
Physical abuse of the children, who are a part of the marginal economic class, is a major concern of our program. It often starts at the immediate family level where living in one house often ranges from 6 to 15+ people. As a result, many children are forced to leave school and to work long hours. So access to education, vocational/professional education, sports, technical, art, and other activities is almost nonexistent for the poor in Nicaragua.
The lack of alternatives for social and personal achievement contributes to the serious risks for young people who are completely surrounded by a world of drugs, violence and crime. Therefore, there is a need for alternatives that pay attention to this problem. The “School of Comedy and Mime” considers itself an interdisciplinary and inter-institutional agency that meets these needs.
The program offers the students an opportunity to receive a qualified education through academic/artistic training. More importantly, the aim of the school is to give kids a newer, healthier perspective that will improve their lives and pave a road for a secure future. The program focuses on teaching skills that will prepare them to earn an income and strengthen their confidence to accomplish tasks that they previously thought were impossible.
The program also promotes an ambience that fosters confidence building in young people who normally have little self-esteem. This encourages them to develop a critical attitude enabling them to interpret, think, create and make better personal and professional choices.