Save our place!

The community space of a club of teenagers is in danger, because the owners want to rent the room for money. The small community has to save the place – somehow…


Fanni Szemerédi has an MA in cultural management and an MA in teaching literature. She
has worked in several cultural programs and drama projects for youth in different theatres in Hungary. Since 2016 she works for a professional independent theatre in Budapest as a program coordinator and also contributes to the youth program of the theatre as a drama teacher working with both adults and teenagers.


How can we mobilise our resources or get new ones in an emergency case? What is value for us? What is value for others?

Structure of the process:

Materials: drama papers (big paper sheets) – max
10, markers, pens, tables, chairs, masking tape


Narration (facilitator) – 5 min

Today I am offering you the roles of a small community. The members are all 17-22 years old, attending secondary school or university. They call themselves The Keys because there is no problem in the world they can’t solve together. They always find the key to a situation. Their mutual interest is a place called: The Key Club. The Club gives place to all the activities of The Keys. They organise different programs for young people in the neighbourhood. Their Couch Cinema is very popular among teenagers. The gamer’s hub and the Book Club are also quite famous in the district. The Club takes place in a tower block on the ground floor with a street level entrance. It’s 100 m2 big. 3 years ago The Keys restored it, they painted and decorated the walls, bought some furniture, picked up some second-hand items, got everything settled and built up a community. They have weekly and monthly programs and every year a cocoa and punch party before Christmas. The residents of the tower block like visiting their programs as well. We all are going to play The Keys.”

Creating The Key Club – whole group discussion – 60 min

a) What does The Club look like? You can either set up the enterieur with masking tape on the floor and use the tables and chairs in the room or you can draw the ground plan of the rooms on drama paper. What kind of furnishing and equipment do we need? What does it look like (furniture, decoration)? What do we need to set up a cosy and at the same time functional community place? – 20 min

b) What are the programs? What do The Keys offer to the youngsters? What are the weekly and monthly events? What is their favourite holiday or season? How do they celebrate it? Create a year calendar / a month and a week plan! (on drama paper) – 20 min

c) Every member is responsible for something. Every member adds value to the whole. What’s your part? What are you in charge of? Choose one or two tasks, a special area for yourself. Remember: there are creative and practical / functional tasks as well. Every member should pull their weight. Even the smallest task is very important! – 20 min

First the participants shall write tasks themselves. But there are some tips to help them if needed:
> Planning (timetables, schedules, budgets)
> Do the shopping
> Decoration
> Communication (online, offline, creative writing, drawing, social media,…)
> Technical background (for the movie nights e.g.)
> Cleaning up
> Person on duty at events
> Organising movie nights (films, discussions,…)
> Leading the Book Club
> …

Events – jobs to do – 3 / 4 small groups (each group shall have organisers, technicians, person on duty, person for communication, … ) – 20 min + 15 / 20 min sharing

> Every small group shall make an event plan (3 / 4)
> Find out what kind of event you would like to plan!
> Collect the tasks which have to be done for a successful event!
> Who is responsible for the particular tasks (from decoration to cleaning up)?
> Make a time table / schedule as well!
> Make a budget / calculation!
> Design a poster / leaflet for the event
> Freeze frames: the event in 3 snapshots

II. Conflict: The Club is in danger! – Teacher in role + whole group discussion / improvisation – 3 min

At the weekly meeting one of the members (the facilitator in role) comes to the club meeting with breaking news: the residents of the tower block want to close the Club because they want to rent the 100 m2 room for money. The tower block needs income to renovate the building. The Keys should move out in a month.

Discussion, planning and presentation in 3 / 4 small groups – 6 min discussion + 8 min creating + 9 / 12 min sharing and adding

How can we save The Club? Either we have to get money somehow or find some other solution

1. Convince the residents at the tower block that The Club is important for the people in the neighbourhood – presentation at a residents’meeting

2. Make up a plan: how can we produce income? Could we earn money with any of our
free activities? “Business-plan”

3. Fundraising – plan a campaign (online, offline) to get patrons / donators

4. If there is any other idea, the participants shall work it out!

Each one of the 3 / 4 small groups works out a plan, then shares the ideas in the whole group and the others can comment and help with further suggestions.

III. Ending – a year later – 8 min

Could we save The Club? Where are the members now and what are they doing?
Freeze frames in 3 / 4 small groups + 1-2 sentences

Your Approach:

Important: there is no right or wrong answer. Our aim is always to examine a problem or dilemma from different perspectives, find arguments and deepen our understanding by trying different ways, looking at different consequences. The facilitator should not make a hint or any suggestions. He / she should always ask questions to help elaborate a situation, a problem. Open questions help to deepen the understanding of certain problems or dilemmas. First the participants shall bring ideas, suggestions, only in the second round shall the facilitator help with suggestions.

Further readings:

Jonothan Neelands, Tony Goode: Structuring Drama Work: 100 Key Conventions for Theatre and Drama


Written by: Fanni Szemerédi, InSite Drama, Hungary