Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Moving Sounds annual report

Being a world-wide community, the FWBO is full of diverse people and projects, all more – or less – closely affiliated with “The FWBO”, and, as a result, all more or less well-known among the wider FWBO sangha.

Moving Sounds is an example - they’re a small but innovative ‘Community Interest Company’ run by Keith, Ed, Caspar, and Jo, four mitras from the UK’s Buddhafield and Brighton sanghas. They specialise in music and drama workshops for schools, everything they do carrying a skilfully-delivered social message but also being a lot of fun - a certain Head of Geography is on record as saying "The only way the students could have enjoyed it more is if they had been stuffing their faces with chocolate at the same time!"

Their recently published annual report is full of gems such as the RECYCLED ORCHESTRA, which combines the experience of playing recycled percussion as a group with performance, video, discussion and group activities about waste and climate-change; the ECO SHOW, which presents broader ecological issues in a fun and entertaining way using theatre, clowning, plenty of music and different characters to explore topics including energy use, global foot printing, oil consumption, and alternative energy sources. They’ve just commissioned a local artist to make a pair of giant feet (for the USA, we wonder why!) and performed music and storytelling workshops about ‘How to Make the Best World Imaginable’ at the World Environment Day

Alongside that, they have a strong link to Africa – Ed and Caspar recently returning from an extended trip there with ‘THE GREAT EMBAIRE’ in their hand luggage. The Embaire is the biggest xylophone in the world, originating in Uganda and played by 10 people simultaneously for several hours – usually accompanied by plenty of dancing and celebration.

In Africa they made a promotional DVD for XPERA UGANDA - Africa’s first opera company. The idea is that this will enable XPERA to apply for funding to run community opera projects in Uganda, there will then be many possible links to Moving Sounds' own community opera projects in the UK through the UK's Knowledge Transfer funding programmes.

As part of their trip Ed and Caspar made many links with people and organisations in Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zanzibar, Malawi and Mozambique – all of which could potentially become projects that integrate creative workshops with cultural sharing, documentation and training trainers for capacity building. Moving Sounds plan to focus on funding for these projects in 2008. They're a great example of how Buddhist principles can make a real difference in the world without ever calling themselves 'Buddhist'. We wish them well…

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