Antigone Project

– gender based violence awareness through theatre –


Gender based violence (and especially violence against women) can be detrimental for the social inclusion of both the victims and the witnesses, especially if they are minors. According to a report from the Expert Group on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, Health and Long-Term Care Issues, it causes emotional and mental consequences including low educational performance, psychological disturbances, anxiety, low self-esteem, reduction in self assurance and abilities and resources to cope with the situation, fear of the future, depression and even drug abuse.

The consequences are worse if the victim or the witness does not know to react effectively to this situation and how to get support. These consequences can easily lead to the social exclusion of the individuals involved. The lockdown that was imposed in many countries because of the COVID19 pandemic, has increased significantly gender-based violence (GBV) all over Europe. According to data from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGES), in times of crisis and natural disasters, there is a documented rise in domestic abuse since victims – who are usually women and girls – can be exposed to abusers for long periods of time and cut off from social and institutional support.

Therefore, the effective raising of awareness related with gender-based violence from the school age, is very important in order to promote the social inclusion of the students, both in a preventive way and in the case that the students have already experienced or witnessed gender-based violence.

However, the method to be used is of utmost importance when working with young people. Most of the methods implemented until now against GBV in an educational context are focused on rational thinking (identification of violent behaviors, ways to report and respond to violent behaviors etc). However, usually emotions are neglected while they play a crucial part for the changing of behaviors. Also, there is a need of a method that would allow students to overcome a natural hesitation to talk about these issues. Here, creative methods have a crucial role.

The project is based on participatory theatre techniques which allow the development of empathy and the active involvement of the participants in real life situations, in the context of a safe environment. Moreover, it is important, due to the pandemic to build the capacity of the teachers to implement these methods also online. The restriction of human contact in many cases has reduced the organisation of theatre-based workshops despite their obvious advantages. However, research (“Response to COVID-19 Zooming in on online process drama” by Adam Cziboly & Adam Bethlenfalvy) has shown that there are ways to use theatre also in order to work online.


  • Phase 1: Development of a handbook
  • Phase 2: Training course for teachers
  • Phase 3: Implementation in the classroom


This handbook is written for secondary school teachers (ISCED 2 & 3), and it aims to help you to organise drama- and theatre-based workshops on Gender-Based Violence in your classroom, either physically or with the use of online tools. The lockdown imposed in many countries because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21 has provenly increased Gender-Based Violence all over Europe, so addressing the problem in classrooms has even more importance in these years.

Our consortium believes that drama- and theatre-based activities has a significant impact on attitudes, emotions and ways of thinking of the students, and can change patterns of pre-conceptions or passive negligence. Based on our experience, pupils really enjoy working with methods based on fiction and stories. With such techniques, you will be able to convey your teaching goals and discuss sensitive issues in a way that pupils won’t even recognize they are learning.

The handbook is divided in 4 chapters.

Chapter 1. gives an overview of the topic gender-based violence:           

  • The chapter introduces the central human rights, the basic concepts and the theories explaining the root causes behind gender inequality, leading to gender-based violence
  • A specific section is devoted to gender-based violence during crises, such as the COVID-19 lockdown was, or the refugee crisis was of the past years.
  • The chapter ends with an overview of the current challenges in the Antigone consortium partner countries.

Chapter 2. attempts to introduce you to the theory and methodology of applied drama:

  • The chapter starts with a short introduction to the theory and the key concepts,
  • followed by an introduction to the basics of the methodology: explaining how you can start conducting dramatic activities in your classroom.
  • Furthermore, you will find tips and resources about facilitation, handling difficult situations and challenges in the classroom and
  • working interactively in an online platform, Zoom.

Chapter 3. is the core of the handbook, since it presents you 45- or 90-minutes-long lesson plans, that a single teacher can implement independently. You will find easier and more advanced plans, as well as information on how some of the plans can be adapted for Zoom. The lesson plans cover a variety of methodologies and themes. The presentation of each lesson plan follows a similar structure:

  • You will find a table showing the length, the age-group the lesson has been planned for, whether the group needs advance knowledge of drama and the level of difficulty for the teacher.
  • Summary of the lesson: a short overview of the lesson plan’s main aspects, aims and target group.
  • Specific aims of the lesson: What are the mains aims of this lesson? What impact should you aim for and be satisfied with?
  • Materials and preparation needed: e.g. space used, application to install if it is an online lesson, or the students need to read in advance.
  • Detailed description of teacher-led activities: specific step-by-step descriptions from the teacher’s perspective with proposed timing and some explanation to what each activity aims to achieve.
  • Possible further activities, supporting materials: anything that supports you in developing the lesson or discussions that follows.

This chapter also offers some specific connection with the educational contexts in your country and a few examples of complex projects and processes from around the world.

Chapter 4. is partially adjusted to the specific countries, and it summarizes useful resources regarding

  • the signs of gender-based violence, what you can do as a teacher, as a victim or as someone who identifies gender-based violence,
  • who can help in your country (e.g. helplines, organisations)

You can download the handbook HERE.

Antigone project handbook in Hungarian.

Read about the results and impact of the Antigone project in the IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT.


The project e-learning platform can be reached HERE.