Hua Dan Limited is a Hong Kong-registered charity dedicated to using the power of participation in theater workshops as a tool for individual and community transformation. Through these workshops, Hua Dan assists migrant workers and their children in Mainland China, who are either migrants themselves or left-behind to stay with family. Hua Dan seeks to achieve this through three main goals: personal leadership, relationships and participatory arts.
Migrant communities are becoming increasingly larger throughout China, and they often do not have adequate resources to empower themselves and their community. Migrant communities have minimal access to art forms such as theater, as well as community-building spaces and activities for migrants to build trust, relationships, confidence, creativity, leadership, and other skills either individually or collectively.
Hua Dan’s workshops are based on the pioneering work of Augusto Boal and his Forum Theatre techniques. They also incorporate Theatre-in-Education, Improvisation, Playback Theatre and many other participatory theatre forms. Each workshop starts with theatre games designed to build trust and start developing confidence, creativity and teamwork. They then use ‘frozen pictures’ as a way to identify issues they will work on in the workshop, issues that participants themselves have identified as a need. Then, they turn these frozen pictures into scenes that enable participants to practice solutions to the problems they face and develop new skills to deal with those challenges. Hua Dan seeks not only awareness around a problem someone faces, but also genuine and long-lasting behavior change to empower people to take leadership in their lives and in the lives of their communities. Each workshop or project almost always finish with a performance in the community.