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 A group of students who hosted the Indra Congress at Plymouth University have described it as a "humbling experience".

 "The international congress brings young people from across the world together to share, explore, break apart and resolve human experiences of conflict through the arts," explained Alix Harris, the Barbican Theatre's theatre practitioner.

In the lead up to the event the group of 21 students from Year 10 and 12 worked with Alix, rehearsing weekly at the theatre devising a piece of physical theatre about issues of significance to them including education, homophobia and anxiety.

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 "The piece was predominantly movement-based as they knew they would be performing to an international audience where language is a significant barrier," said Alix.

The week itself - at The House at Plymouth University - in July involved young people from Bolton, Burnley, Derry, India, Greece. Cyprus and representatives from South Africa, Brazil, Canada and Nigeria.

There was a full timetable of activity which included performance sharing and presentations where they digitally interacted with groups in Palestine, South Africa and Sierra Leone who were unable to attend the congress in person for a variety of reasons.

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 "The young people split up into three different art forms; dance, drama and art and worked together to create a performance which was shown to a public audience," said Alix.

"I've been involved with the project for five years and I knew that this would be a life-changing experience for the students.

"It's hard to describe it as it something you really need to experience to understand the full impact but having worked with these young people I knew that they would have the sensitivity, respect and willingness to be exposed to other people's stories.

"I half expected about 6 or 7 to turn up so it was a brilliant surprise to see 21 students turn up every week without fail! I am so incredibly proud of the journey that they have each individually been on.

"I have seen a transformation in their thinking and how they view the world, and I feel confident knowing that they are going to use their experience of Indra to make positive change in the world.

"The Barbican Theatre have been fantastic in offering the students this opportunity."

Student reflections:

“This week has taught me so much about the world, about other people and the problems they face. But, it also taught me so much about myself. Its made me realise that I need to become my own person and follow my heart,” Ellie, Year 10

“Being a part of the Indra Congress 2015 has shown me so much about the awful world we are currently living in. Hearing everyone’s story really changed me as a person (for the better) and I will carry them for the rest of my life. My perspective on the world has changed due to Indra and this week has given me the confidence to have a greater impact on how we, the younger generation, can change the world!"  Rebecca, Year 10

"I enjoyed every second I spent with everyone who was able to come to Plymouth. It was truly the most humbling, inspiring, incredible week of my life. The stories I have heard are just so emotive it really makes me want to change the world for the better."

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