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Take a visual walk through the growth of Wan Smolbag from acting troupe of 5 to regional NGO of 100 plus.

The panels below are collapsible. Click on the panel header to collapse the panel that contains the history period of your interest.
Enjoy!
 
Back in the 1980s

MARCH 1989
First performance

Wan Smolbag's first performance - a play on safe water. Adapted from a Zambian group, Kanyama, it is a farce with a lot of simulated diarrhoea!
 
JUNE 1989
First AIDS play

WSB's first play on AIDS 14 years before the first local case is announced in Vanuatu.
NOVEMBER 1989
Full-time employment

Community Aid Abroad, now Oxfam Australia, enables four of the group to become full-time. Vanuatu's first professional theatre group is under way.
 

What happened from 1990 to 1999
MARCH-APRIL 1990
First tour

First schools tour with an environmental pantomime, The Tale of Mighty Hawk and Magic Fish funded by SPREP. Subsequently published by Faber and Faber as part of a collection of Sacred Earth Dramas.
MAY 1990
Under the covers

WSB's first radio drama, recorded under mattresses in a bedroom.
 
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APRIL 1991
Environmental play filmed

WSB makes a play with Kurimambe village, Tongoa on conservation of a local bird habitat. The process is filmed in the documentary Hemi Graon Blong Yumi shown on Australian television channel SBS.
JULY 1991
Old Stories'
first performance

Our history play The Old Stories gets its first performance at the Chiefs' Nakamal in Port Vila
around Independence.
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27 DECEMBER 1991
A sad loss

Pierre Licht, founder member of WSB, is killed in a car crash. Pierre's death leaves the future of the fledgling group in doubt. He was its comic heart; older than the other local actors and the only Francophone.
FEB/MARCH 1992
Tour of Australia/NZ
with Air Vanuatu

This commercial venture probably saves the group as it forces us to regroup immediately after Pierre's death. The piece mixes bits of our history play with sketches for the tourist industry and is performed jointly with hotel staff to travel agents as an alternative to the more usual slide show!
 
1992
First video shot

Wan Smolbag's first video Like Any Other Lovers funded by SPC.
1992
Rarotonga

WSB performs at the Pacific Arts Festival in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Most of the venues cater more for large-scale open air dance like the one in the photo. So we take over the famous Banana Court disco in the daytime for more studio style performances.
 
JANUARY 1993
Expanding the group

Wan Smolbag expands to two groups (pictured here together) with the start of its core funding from DFID (UK). This enables us to respond to the growing regional demand.
AUGUST 1993
Off to FSM

First tour to Federated States of Micronesia. Whilst we see our islands as the home of kava, it is usually a night-time activity. So it's strange in Pohnpei to be performing at midday while a section of the audience is preparing and drinking kava!
 
 
OCTOBER 1993
Rights of the Child

Perform Street Kids to UNICEF at SPC annual conference with the Rights of the Child as the key theme. There is a saying that children are the flower of their grandparents. Although children are highly cherished, the rapidly growing population in several Pacific states means there is a growing amount of abuse and neglect too.
NOVEMBER 1993
Puppets on the reef

Devise On the Reef during a puppetry workshop with Handspan Theatre from Melbourne. This popular reef musical is still in the repertoire and is available on video and DVD.
 
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NOVEMBER 1993
George & Sheila filming

A film about the roles of men and women in the family. As with all our early videos this is a straight adaptation of a play, whereas now we write for video. We have done a lot of work on gender-based violence. A simple Agree/Disagree/Don't Know discussion follows most plays on the topic 'It is always wrong to hit your partner'. This is always one of the liveliest post play discussions.
30 MAY 1994
A home for Smolbag

We move into Wan Smolbag Haos, our permanent home.
 
 
30 JULY 1994
Down Paradise Street
in Vila

We open the building with our first full-length musical, Down Paradise Street. Although it looks at social issues, this is less of a message play and with its band and large cast it's very popular with Vila audiences.
SEPTEMBER 1994
Outer island
theatre groups

Start outer island groups on Pentecost and Ambrym. They are still active.
 
 
NOV/DEC 1994
A Kiribati experience

Te Itibwerere theatre group from Kiribati come to Port Vila. Kiribati has a number of vibrant theatre groups and a culture of dance and performance that has made the groups we have worked with some of the most thrilling actors we have come across.
Sadly, the groups have had trouble finding sustained funding.
DEC 1994-MARCH 1995
Blacksands youth

Health Force Theatre is formed with youth from Blacksands community

and we start a project with kids in Blacksands who don't go to school. They produce a play Rod Blong Go Long Skul.
 
 
JULY 1995
Video of On The Reef

On the Reef video produced.
AUGUST 1995
Turtle monitors begin

A tour of Efate with a play about turtles leads to the starting of a network of turtle monitors (see Vanua-Tai page).
 
 
SEPTEMBER 1995
Pacific Star filmed
 
An adaptation of our comic play Tourists or Toilets, this is about a sharp-witted village lad who reckons he can make a fortune by getting tourists to see the village's wondrous cave, providing he can get the title to the land the cave is on ... which leads to conflict in the village.
JAN-JUNE 1996
Disability addressed

We develop a play Things We Don't Talk About again adapted into a video, on disability issues. Through this project, Francis Ruru, whom polio left disabled at an early age, joins Wan Smolbag. Although regrettably we have not tackled the issue head on since this time, Francis has remained a member of the group to this day.
 
 
MAY 1996
STIs on legs

Developed walking biological diagrams as a new approach to our work on STIs.
AUGUST 1996
Kasis Road
feature length film

Our first feature video Kasis Road is about unemployed youth and teenage pregnancy. Dale Hermanson of Pasifika Communications, who used to edit and still distributes WSB's videos, tells a funny story about editing this video and the feckless character at the centre of the video: I used to come in early when the place was quiet and our cleaner would pause and watch me editing, 'If I ever get hold of that lad, I'll castrate him!' he said.
Peter Walker too remembers the gentleman from Palau who was at a workshop in Vila: One Sunday we took him walking along this area of coast near Vila. 'Hey! he exclaimed, that's the rock from Kasis Road where ... and that's the tree where ...'
Kasis Road apparently played many times on North Pacific cable TV channels.
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NOVEMBER 1996
Plays to Polynesia

Tour of Polynesia with environmental plays funded by SPREP.
AUGUST 1997
The Blacksands play

A 6-month community play project with 80 participants from Blacksands, culminating in a two-hour play (see Governance for a more detailed account of this key event in WSB's history).
 
 
NOV/DEC 1997
Dengue and malaria
tackled

Puppetry workshop leading to two videos on dengue fever and malaria. A door-to-door five minute sketch campaigning on dengue fever, as fear mounts that an epidemic will spread from Fiji to Vanuatu.
1998
Building a new clinic

Together with the community play group, WSB plans a reproductive health clinic, which we then build onto the back of the theatre (see Health).
 
 
JULY-OCT 1998
Vot Long Pati Ia
to beat corruption

Our biggest video project to date: a feature length video on corruption and governance issues, Vot Long Pati Ia. This video is extremely popular for several years in Vanuatu and groups from PNG say they used it with communities in the run-up to the last general election. Popular, but still the corruption continues. WSB is painfully aware that one video does not stop people voting for the candidate who will give them fencing posts or a bag of rice in return.
FEBRUARY 1999
AIDS awareness
affects the group

Coming Home - a play specially commissioned for the first SPC AIDS Conference in Fiji. Performing at this conference and meeting HIV positive Pacific Islanders has a profound effect on group members. So much so that we improvise a play 'WSB goes to a Conference' on our return, with which we tour around Vanuatu. Showing photos of group members embracing HIV positive islanders, the reaction was often Weren't you frightened? or Didn't you get sick? A lot of awareness work still to do.
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SEPTEMBER 1999
Making puppets

Puppetry workshop with Sally Rodwell and Alan Brunton of
Red Mole Theatre, Wellington.
Alan and Sally, you will both be sadly missed.
NOVEMBER 1999
Reproductive health
training manual

Publish a training manual Drama in Reproductive Health which we used for UNFPA in Kiribati and still use around the Pacific today.
We later publish a sister volume under the WWF/EU environment programme: Drama in Environmental Education.
 
More History from 2000 to 2009
 
2000
Full-time scriptwriter

With so many new partners, the writing demands on WSB's main scriptwriter, Jo Dorras, become immense. Any one year sees 2 new plays required, plus ongoing scripts for the radio soap and any new films. In the early years Jo combined her teaching job with writing, but as the popularity of the group has grown, she moves full-time into the group.
MARCH 2000
Louisa's Choice

A later play on the topic of domestic violence, Louisa's Choice, takes a more comic approach to the issue. It's the story of two men, both of whom want to marry Louisa. She says she will marry the one who can persuade all the men in the village to stop beating their wives. The post play discussion is as intense as that following George and Sheila and arguably the laughter generated by the play creates an even more open atmosphere for discussion.
 
 
2000-2003
Funding changes

WSB donor base diversifies as DFID pulls back from the Pacific. With Oxfam New Zealand, WSB opens its own radio studio for recording its weekly radio soap, Famili Blong Serah, and radio documentaries for its European Community funded governance programme. The start of a new WWF/EU funded environment project. 3-year NZAID Substance Abuse project begins for youth in Port Vila, with materials being produced for schools throughout the country.
SEPTEMBER 2000
The start of the future

We make our first video using our own equipment, Three Short Films on Human Rights, as we start the process of upskilling local group members in electronic media.
 
 
JULY/AUG 2001
Old Stories revived

Revive our history play Old Stories for the first time in 10 years. This is a great release for WSB actors and like discovering a new play. The cast is 4 times bigger, we have lights and a theatre to perform in! One of the drawbacks of the post DFID, multi project organisation that WSB has become, is that we don't get time for a major live theatre piece, but this is a step in that direction. And because most of us can still remember the lines it doesn't take too long to rehearse and audiences love it, including the Prime Minister!
APRIL 2001
Vanua-Tai monitors association

The turtle monitors become the Vanua-Tai monitors association, meaning land and sea monitors (see Vanua-Tai)
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SEPTEMBER 2001
A new edit suite

We add an editing suite to our gear and edit 2001's project Positive on our own Final Cut Pro. Beru Kaltapau becomes our first full-time cameraman.
MARCH 2002
Publishing boom

Growing demand for our printed materials finds a solution when NZ VSA volunteer Alison Moore joins as our desktop publisher (and omits to leave!). Over the next few years a dedicated publications/distribution section is created, incorporating in-house counterpart training. This development allows us to fulfil increasingly ambitious programme commitments.
 
 
APRIL 2002
Elections loom

A nationwide campaign of voter education over 3 weeks prior to the general election.
JUNE 2002
HIV testing

KPH Clinic adds HIV testing to its services.
 
 
JUNE/JULY 2002
Positive video

Workshops on our video Positive around the Pacific. This video about HIV explored both the personal dilemmas AIDS causes in our relationships and what to do if we cannot trust our partner, as well as the governance angle; just how are Pacific governments going to respond to HIV? The video is used extensively in the Pacific.
AUGUST 2002
Overseas performers

Host a number of performers from Melanesia as part of the 2nd Melanesian Arts Festival. We welcome visits by overseas performers at Wan Smolbag.
 
 
SEPT/OCT 2002
A Piece Of Land filmed

Our first feature film for several years, A Piece of Land, funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. As you will see below, this piece is our most successful to date and is accepted for inclusion in several international film festivals. The issues at its heart are population pressures, land resources and love.
DECEMBER 2002
Pacific People of the Year

WSB is awarded the Pacific People of the Year accolade by Islands Business magazine, the first time the award has been given to a group. Commenting on the award, Island Business said.....'The opportunity to praise an institution wholeheartedly, without reservation, occurs rarely. If there's any institution in the Pacific that can truly be said to be working at the grassroots level, then it is Wan Smol Bag'.
 
 
MARCH 2003
A Piece Of Land triumphs

Grand opening of A Piece of Land at the 400-seater cinema in Port Vila.
MAY-JULY 2003
Australia's parliament,
Brisbane's film festival
and Hawaii's too!

Showings of A Piece of Land in Canberra at the Australian National University and to members of the Australian parliament...
and at the Brisbane International
Film Festival...
and at the Hawaii Film Festival.
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JULY 2003
Namalao protection

Chiefs from all over Ambrym agree on an annual ban to protect the namalao, a megapode endemic to Vanuatu. This follows work by Wuhuran Theatre and WSB.
AUGUST 2003
Famili Blong Serah

Famili Blong Serah, our radio soap opera, celebrates its third anniversary episode. 156 episodes and going strong.
 
 
OCTOBER 2003
KPH expands

Official opening of the extension to KPH clinic, which now sees 300 people a month.
NOVEMBER 2003
AIDS in focus

WSB Theatre hosts the first Vanuatu National Youth AIDS Congress, organised together with several other Port Vila NGOs. WSB opened the congress with a new play on the history of HIV, asking the question, Will the Pacific learn from the mistakes made elsewhere or will it attempt a similar denial?
 
 
NOVEMBER 2003
KPH awarded

KPH clinic wins a Commonwealth Youth award, one of five in Oceania.
DECEMBER 2003
AIDS Congress recommendations

Presenting the Recommendations from the 1st Vanuatu National Youth AIDS Congress to the Prime Minister, Edward Natapei.
 
 
APRIL 2004
Solid Sistas hits town

WSB opens its first full length play in 8 years, funded by Oxfam New Zealand. Solid Sistas, a musical on gender issues, proves so popular that we go from 2 to 4 shows a week and are still turning away 50 people a night. It also leads to a new generation of youth joining the group - they stay on full time as they are so good - and this means that some of our older actors don't have to pretend to be so youthful any more!
JULY 2004
Turtle documentary

WSB produces its first documentary funded by Packard, SPREP and WWF. Vanua-Tai... of Land and Sea follows WSB's work with the turtle monitor movement in Vanuatu. It looks at how the initial research and drama led to the setting up of the network and follows the monitors to the Maskelyne islands to work with villages on a sustainable way to harvest turtles, which form an integral part of their traditional New Yam ceremony. It has screened at several film festivals.
 
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AUGUST 2004
Pentecost youth centre

Wan Smolbag officially opens its first rural youth centre on the island of Pentecost. Urban drift is a dilemma for many Pacific countries. Young people do not necessarily fancy a life of gardening, idyllic as it might sound. The centre offers a mixture of workshops and leisure activities. We have built on a private room, so that our nurses can make monthly visits for STI and family planning clinics, and these have been a great success.
SEPTEMBER 2004
Rose leaves home

Eniwan I Luk Rose, a video drama about freedom of movement for our NZAID-funded governance programme. Some chiefs and politicians are anxious to change the constitutional right to Freedom of Movement as a response to urban drift and population growth. WSB opposes this. The story follows the adventures of a young girl who disguises herself as a boy and runs away to town to avoid an arranged marriage to a much older man.
 
 
SEPTEMBER 2004
Another long-standing association begins

Danny Phillips, a freelance cinematographer from Australia, collaborates with Peter Walker on Eniwan I Luk Rose and, over the coming years, on many more films including the very popular Love Patrol series. As WSB's Director of Photography, Danny has a remit to build the skills of the local cameraman Beru and the lighting crew, and he is colourist/editor of the final cut of the films.
NOVEMBER 2004
Right or wrong?

Filming of Mr Right Guy, Wan Smolbag's first musical video for the Global Fund. The whole film takes place in a night club. It follows Maureen's night out at the night club and her infatuation with the lead singer in a band, but is he the right guy? It is a joy to film in 30 degrees and all doors windows closed and no fans!!! But the end product is very popular around the Pacific.
 
 
FEBRUARY 2005
Core funding agreed

Wan Smolbag signs its biggest ever single project agreement with AusAID for core funding and the development of the premises into a youth centre.
FEBRUARY 2005
Sports ahead

Land is also purchased for the development of a sports centre for five-a-side football and hockey, basketball and volleyball.
 
 
FEBRUARY 2005
Good food
 
Also on the land is a rundown house that WSB is renovating into a nutrition centre and cafe.
FEBRUARY 2005
And a trio of films

Wan Smolbag opens the three films from 2004 (Vanua-Tai, Eniwan I Luk Rose and Mr Right Guy) at the Cine Hickson. The place is packed every night and extra performances are arranged.
 
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ONGOING 2005
Youth, youth
and more youth

Youth take over Wan Smolbag!! Although the actors cling onto their space for rehearsal. Otherwise, it's a youth invasion. They
Paint

Dance
They dance latin for the first time

but hip hop classes win in the end!
Key

They compute for the first time...
Recycle

They sit around on tyres rescued from companies who would rather pollute the air by burning them.
MAY-AUG 2005
Solid Sistas goes north

Solid Sistas 2004's hit musical is revived. We also take it up to Santo, where it ends up playing to 700 a night and still we have to turn people away.
 
 
AUGUST 2005
Santo's sexual health

We officially open a sexual health clinic in the northern town of Luganville, which we manage in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.
AUGUST 2005
1, 2, 3, lights!

The WSB sports centre is officially opened by the Minister of Youth and Sports and together with AusAID and UNELCO, they turn on the lights! HIV awareness and safe sex are promoted by signs around the field and a centre circle condom reminding players to 'plei sef'. The astroturf surface meets international standards for sport, making it a useful venue for aspiring international teams.
 
 
AUGUST 2005
Who loves Nancy?

A video drama about TB for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Michael loves Nancy involves lots of the Smolbag youth members as film extras.
ONGOING 2005
Tourism and Paradise

A series of radio plays, a booklet and a film on village-based tourism for the EU funded tourism project. In Yangfala long Turism Yes!, the stories looks at the pitfalls and issues villages must address if they want to attract tourists.
 
 
2006
The nutrition centre opens

Open our nutrition centre with support from JICA, AusAID and Oxfam NZ. Interestingly, in the first set of classes more boys than girls take it up. Girls said they already had to do enough cooking at home. The boys relish the chance though and two get training places with restaurants in town.
MAY 2006
How to teach
in 60 minutes

A 60 minute film drama on teaching methods, No Questions. This draws on the experience of our NZAID funded project working in schools in Melanesia on how to use our materials in the class room. It's not easy being creative when there's nowhere you can make noise without disturbing other classes and other teachers are only interested in chalk and talk!
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JUNE 2006
Are we?

Publication of a secondary school teachers' book to go with our second CD of environmental songs. Teachers anywhere could use this comprehensive book, and the catchy songs.
JULY 2006
A bit more security
Wan Smolbag and NZAID sign an agreement switching the various projects to a core funding agreement. The bulk of Smolbag's work is now covered by two core agreements with NZAID and AusAID. The rest is in conjunction with Oxfam Australia and Oxfam New Zealand, which makes it more manageable than the 18 projects of a few years ago.
 
 
JUNE-DEC 2006
Love Patrol in the making

Our largest film project to date; a 10 part TV mini series commissioned by the Pacific Regional HIV/AIDS project (AusAID) called Love Patrol. The brief is to make a soap style story first and then build in the HIV issues gradually during the series. It takes 13 weeks to film and involves a cast of about 50, and 25 locations. Scheduled to open in April 2007.
ONGOING 2006
Waste management
forges ahead

Work with the Blacksands settlement riverside communities. Health Force, our environment-focused group, has been working for several years with primary school children around waste management issues in schools. Through them we extend the project, at the request of local chiefs, to work with the communities alongside the polluted Tagabe river. We clean out the river of old cars and other metal junk, and now collect the rubbish once a week...
Pickup point at WSB

..and bring it to Wan Smolbag from where the municipal truck collects it. Still there are many problems we are working on together. The river is still polluted; companies pour poisonous waste into it, and people build toilets on its banks and wash dirty nappies in it.
 
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ONGOING 2006
Famili Blong Serah in the public's eyes

Our radio soap is 7 years old and still going strong and gaining listeners in the region as this feedback from the Radio Australia Tok Pisin service makes clear: "Thank you so much for FBS. It's getting really popular now in PNG. Little kids go around uttering words in Bislama. A niece of mine aged 12 in Rabaul follows the series on the local station Radio East New Britain (RENB). Some provincial station managers now write to say 'keep them coming' whereas they were a bit hesitant before. The drawing power of FBS's education and information are making a mark. The topics are very much relevant to the region and the actors are really good in that they make the scripts come alive. So congratulations to your team at Wan Smolbag Theatre. Please keep them coming."
ONGOING 2006
Drama to the villages

We still make a number of village based drama tours sticking to the principle of carrying our wan smol bag trying to open up discussion on sensitive political issues: 'Before this workshop when I heard the name Wan Smolbag I used to think they spoil our custom, but today I have found that WSB talks about real issues that are happening today and will affect us in future.' Chief Peter Namalul, President Nikoletan council of chiefs.
 
 
ONGOING 2006
Youth flourishing

The youth clubs started in 2005 continue to flourish with often up to 100 a day playing sport, coming to rap classes, literacy classes, sewing classes and finding work in WSB too, with several young actors popping up in our films. An AusAID review has suggested that the scheme should be continued with a period of further core support for Wan Smolbag.
MARCH 2007
Love Patrol hits
the streets

Love Patrol, the Pacific's first locally produced TV series, is launched in Port Vila and subsequently in Santo, Fiji and the Solomons. It has since aired in many of the Pacific countries to enthusiastic audiences. A second series is being filmed in 2008.
 
 
MARCH 2007
Hockey in Fiji

A team of unemployed youth travels to Fiji to play international 6-a-side hockey.
JULY 2007
New theatre space!

Total refurbishment of the theatre space to create an entirely new experience for both the actors and the local audiences. This has been funded by NZAID and opens on the same night as the first performance of Las Kad.

Improved lighting and more comfortable seating for the audience and more flexibility for the staging.
 
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AUGUST 2007
Las Kad

After a tumultuous year of rehearsing, community consultations and subsequent reworking, WSB produces Las Kad, a play about several social issues affecting Vanuatu today. What makes it especially sensitive is that it draws heavily on riots at the start of the year in which three people were killed and houses were burned following accusations of witchcraft. Even the actors were hesitant about the first draft of the script and the play was given a hurried no frills production earlier in the year to seek the approval of community leaders, especially those involved in the riots. Once approved, the main production can now be staged.
AUGUST 2007
SPG involvement

Beach volleyball at the South Pacific Games: two members of the youth team attend as officials and have a valuable and very enjoyable experience.
 
 
OCTOBER 2007
Filming Las Kad

6 weeks of filming Las Kad starts. Rather than the film being simply a recreation of the stage performance it mixes real locations with scenes on the stage and also in all the nooks and crannies of the revamped theatre building.
JANUARY 2008
A new play
for election year

Yet another new play for an election. Atmosphere in the country is tense following the murders, in separate incidents, of an expatriate and a local man. MPs are calling for the freedom of movement legislation to be revised. Meanwhile, the boom in land sales to expatriates continues and politicians seem exempt from prosecution for any misdemeanour.
 
 
MARCH 2008
New futsal league

The Wan Smolbag Shefa Futsal League is established to give an opportunity to less fortunate youth who want to play in a league, but can't afford the fees. About 10 teams were expected to affiliate, but 6 months in there are 39 teams! They come from all around Port Vila and members number 700 - making up junior, senior and women's teams. 
APRIL 2008
Las Kad goes to Santo

Luganville audiences are as keen to see Las Kad as they were Solid Sistas in 2005. The play runs for 9 days of public performances plus various school workshops in 'quiet' time.
 
 
 
MAY 2008
In the eyes of the beholders

The youth centre photography class holds its third public exhibition in town. Laef Blong Yumi presents the lives, families and surroundings of the young people in the class, from their own perspective.
JUNE 2008
Computer room refit

We replace the 8 aging, erratic and power-hungry old PCs with 2 new machines running NComputing software which enables us to connect 7 screens to each, doubling the number of youth members we can train at once. At the same time we reduce power consumption and maintenance effort, all thanks to what's known as 'thin-client technology'.
 
 
JUNE 2008
OLPC gets a look-in

The youth centre takes part in the OLPC (one laptop per child) programme. A set of laptops are delivered for use in the literacy classes and they get their first test run from the children.
JULY 2008
Las Kad film launched

An opening night at Wan Smolbag Haos (albeit with unfinished soundtrack!) is followed by public showings at two local schools with entrance fees going to the schools.
 
 
JULY-SEPT 2008
Plastic Fantastic!

Over a four-month period, Health Force tours schools around Vila, Efate and Luganville with their new play illustrating the dangers of plastic litter to marine life.
AUGUST 2008
Love Patrol 1 in print

A run of 9,000 copies of the resource guide for Love Patrol 1 is printed and immediately distributed for use in schools all around the Pacific, from American Samoa to Vanuatu.
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JULY-OCTOBER 2008
Action on Love Patrol 2

18 weeks of non-stop filming of the second series of Love Patrol begins. With more action sequences and longer episodes planned, it is a long, hard slog for the actors and crew and involves some 20 actors and 50 extras.
SEPTEMBER 2008
Cleaning up

Continuing their focus on waste management, Health Force carries out another cleanup of Tagabe river together with local volunteers and helps organise World Clean-Up Day at Vila's seafront, culminating in a performance of the Litter Creatures play.

 
 
SEPTEMBER 2008
Disability in focus
 
Francis Ruru attends the ADDC (Australian Disability & Development Consortium) 2008 conference in Canberra for 2 days of insights and discussion, with a Pacific focus.
NOVEMBER 2008
Family Protection Bill
 
As this long awaited law is finally gazetted, Health Force tours Vanua Lava, Ambae and communities in Vila with a play on domestic violence and the new bill to explain its implications. Altogether some 15,000 people see the play.
 
 
NOVEMBER 2008
Loltong string bands
launch music CD
 
As part of our project there, 9 string bands in the Loltong area of north Pentecost launch their first music CD, called Step Wan (Step One). It was recorded on site in the Haulua Centre using a portable recording system and improvising with bamboo and other locally available materials.
NOVEMBER 2008
Volunteers over the years

Wan Smolbag's growth especially over the past decade has been assisted by the contributions of international volunteers, who have worked with us for between a few months and several years. Here are some of the many longer term volunteers, who came from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US, with volunteer organisations AVI, AYAD, CUSO, VSA, VSO and Peace Corps.
 
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DECEMBER 2008
Ongoing AIDS awareness
 
Around World AIDS Day, KPH peer educators and selected youth members decorate an 'awareness truck' and run information sessions and quizzes on HIV and AIDS in various local communities, with prizes for those who get the answers right.
JANUARY 2009
NCYC online
 
In our Luganville clinic and youth centre, we set up a suite of computer work stations for the running of courses and general use by growing numbers of youth using the place. Again we use energy-efficient thin-client technology that allows 7 screens to run off just one computer.
 
 
FEBRUARY 2009
Turtle Symposium Presence

George Petro presents 14 years of the Vanua-Tai Monitors' project at the 29th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in Brisbane, Australia.
FEBRUARY 2009
Soup & salad with a smile

With renewed energy after the Christmas break, the nutrition centre is serving soup and two salads every lunchtime, all wholesome, nutritious and cheap. Very popular with the staff (even in a downpour!) and open to the wider community too.
 
 
MARCH 2009
Smelling is believing
 
We also re-establish the vegetable garden to supply said nutrition centre lunches - and use the compost from our compost toilet to nourish the soil. Even the sceptics are convinced in the end after the nose test!
MARCH 2009
40 Dei countdown
 
Our big new play for this year is called 40 Days. Rehearsals begin! A lot of work ahead.
See Director's Blog for more details.
 
 
MARCH 2009
National Leaders Forum
 
As part of our Governance Committee Annual Workshop, we run a Forum on 'The Law and Our National Leaders'. This brings together the Ombudsman, Police Commissioner, Attorney General and State Prosecutor to discuss the law as applied to all levels of society.
APRIL 2009
NCYC Yut Senta is go!
 
The activities at the Northern Care Youth Clinic in Luganville gain another dimension with the official opening of the NCYC Youth Centre. And they are queuing at the door to join!
 
 
1 MAY 2009
40 Days on target
 
40 Dei opens, after a few hurdles, (see 40 Dei for more) and proves very thought-provoking for audiences. A few extra shows are staged during the festival too.
MAY 2009
Not just 1 but 3
Open Days
 
Starting with a march from town to Wan Smolbag Haos, we invite the whole of Vila (and anyone else) to kam pusum hed and see what all Smolbag has to offer. 3 days of displays, activities, 'have-a-go' sessions, chat, pseudo-Olympics and more. Plus a bit of rain.....see 20th Year Events for more.
 
 
15 MAY 2009
KPH 10 years on
 
KPH celebrates 10 years of service and an ever increasing reach into the community, with Smolbag staff and partner organisations joining the party. See 20th Year Events for more.
2-16 JUNE 2009
Festival time!
 
We celebrate 20 years in action with an international theatre festival - with acts coming from as far as the UK and as close as New Caledonia. Smolbag combines past with present with some performances at the Chiefs' Nakamal, where we were based in the early days. Two weeks of inter-cultural and artistic experience forging warm friendships. Great fun! See 20th Year Events for more.
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JUNE 2009
Las Kad in La Foa

Las Kad is sponsored by the Alliance Francaise to be in the line-up at New Caledonia's 11th Festival du Cinema in la Foa.
JUNE/JULY 2009
20 Yia History
 
A wealth of activity in pictures. We run an exhibition of some milestones in our 20 year history, with photos, a map of tours and workshops and the full range of resource information available to view.
 
 
JULY 2009
Quick makeover
 
In preparation for the imminent filming of Love Patrol series 3, we start stripping out the theatre space and converting it into a police station once more. Audience seating space converted to cells? Could catch on...
AUGUST 2009
Nes Shirley on the radio
 
Nes Shirley, a new 10-part radio show about domestic violence is being broadcast on local Radio Vanuatu. Other WSB radio dramas will follow its run.
 
 
5 SEPT 2009
Love Patrol 2 launched
 
The long-awaited second series of Love Patrol is launched in Port Vila. Limited public showings follow (and up to episode 8 only!) and it's launched in Luganville the following week.
SEPTEMBER 2009
Youth Photos on show
 
Many new members but still the same interest in learning how to take good photos. The photo club exhibition mirrors life and the winner gets a week's work experience with a local photographer.
 
 
SEPT-NOV 2009
'20 Yia' exhibition
goes round Vanuatu
 
The exhibition celebrating 20 years of Smolbag history starts to travel. The planned schedule covers Santo, Tanna, Vanua Lava, Malekula and Ambae. Starting in Luganville Chiefs' Nakamal in Sept. it attracts much interest, from schools especially.
SEPT-OCT 2009
Health Force on Tanna
 
One half of Health Force tours in Tanna with a selection of plays, including Shame & Ignorance, to increase awareness of health and governance issues. Meanwhile, the other half of the group tours schools and communities around Efate with the same plays.
 
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SEPTEMBER 2009
1 Smolbag + 2 partners
= a new resource
 
A new collaboration is under way with the Vanuatu Ministry of Education and Japanese volunteer organisation, JICA.
A radio resource and comic book are being created to promote numeracy, a new topic for Smolbag, but a consistent focus for JICA.
14 OCT 2009
Fiji sees Love Patrol 2
 
LP2 is launched in Village 6 in Suva to the delight of all those who attend the celebration. The series starts broadcasting on Fiji 1 TV on World AIDS Day.
 
 
ONGOING 2009
Radio information
NCYC continues its weekly radio programme in Santo discussing issues surrounding substance abuse and reproductive health, and publicising NCYC youth centre events.
NOV/DEC 2009
A different league
 
With support from MP Regenvanu the Ralph SupaCup for futsal is born. A prerequisite for involvement (for teams and officials alike) is participation in reproductive health, governance and land rights workshops.
 
 
NOVEMBER 2009
Eniwan I Luk Rose book

The workbook hits the presses, to accompany the film and help teachers address its issues of freedom of movement, gender equity and human rights with their students.
DECEMBER 2009
And then there was (LP) 3...
 
Filming the third series of Love Patrol occupies actors, director, cameramen and many other invaluable contributors from August to December. Involving trials, tribulations and a good few laughs, as usual.
 
 
DECEMBER 2009
Change and progress

WSB restructures, designating Michael Taurakoto as CEO and Peter Walker as Artistic Director. Michael is supported in his role by the WSB management team and continues as our governance project manager.
Latest Events from 2010 to Present
14 JAN 2010
New music studio in Santo

A new music studio is launched in Luganville next to the Northern Care Youth Clinic, a collaborative project between WSB, the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific (FSP) and FestNapuan.
 
 
JANUARY 2010
Two out of the box
 
Love Patrol 2 becomes available on DVD in a special boxed set together with series 1.
T-shirts for the series are also proving popular.
FEB/MARCH 2010
Interactive family protection
 
A new play is improvised by the actors, incorporating some ad-libbing in response to audience reactions, to help reinforce understanding of the rules and responsibilities under the new Family Protection Bill. The play reached Vanua Lava, Amba, Efate and Santo communities.
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FEBRUARY 2010
Wan, Two, Trois!
 
Numeracy CD 'Yumi Evriwan I Nidim Blong Save Maths' is released with a choice of dual language workbooks (Bislama/English or Bislama/French). Workshops commence in Santo, Ambrym, then Pentecost.
FEBRUARY 2010 ONWARDS
Mighty Hawk rises again
 
The Tale of Mighty Hawk and Magic Fish, first performed in 1990, is given a fresh lease of life around schools in Vila and Efate.
 
 
8 MARCH 2010
EU promotes gender equity
 
New funding is signed over to the youth centre by EC Head of Delegation in PNG Aldo Dell'Ariccia, to help us strengthen equality of opportunity for all young people.
MARCH/APRIL 2010
Our World on 3
 
Smolbag projects continue to get global coverage - BBC Radio 3's 'World on 3' music programme plays 3 tracks from Step Wan, the Pentecost string band CD.
 
 
APRIL 2010
ABC drama documentary

Robyn Archer's visit with WSB's actors in December features in a 4-part TV documentary in Australia.
ABC
APRIL 2010
Service with a smile
 
The catering team at the nutrition centre goes from strength to strength and starts getting a steady flow of outside jobs.
 
 
1 MAY - 13 JUNE 2010
44 days of 40 Dei
 
40 Dei hits Vila once more, staged this year 'in the round'. 4 weeks in Vila then to Luganville for 14 performances over 11 days. The Luganville performance space dictates a further total revamp of the staging, and torrential rain on the tin roof during the closing show nearly drowns out the actors completely! But the audience won't leave and the rain subsides. Approx 9,000 people came to the shows altogether.
JUNE/JULY 2010
Yumi Ol Yangfala
 
A vibrant short play by the youth drama group addresses relationships and associated social issues. It is performed to secondary school audiences and followed by an information session on reproductive health plus a look around our clinic, KPH. The play is also performed for the general public as part of Vanuatu's 30th Independence celebrations.
 
 
JULY 2010
Love Patrol under the spotlight
 
This year's La Foa film festival in New Caledonia shows several episodes of Love Patrol 1 with French subtitling. And the first print run of the photo-strip workbook for Love Patrol 2 forms the basis of research/focus groups in several Pacific islands.
7 JULY 2010
Tripartite agreement signed
 
WSB marks the signing of a tripartite agreement between ourselves, NZAID and AusAID securing funding until 2014.
 
 
JULY 2010
Diabetes by the spoonful?

A new radio drama, 9 Spun Suga (9 spoonfuls of sugar), is aired bringing to life the inherent health risks in a sugar rich diet.
SEPTEMBER 2010
No Strings Attached

Adelaide based No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability visits to perform 'Trapped' and run a week of workshops with Smolbag youth and community members with disabilities, culminating in their own performance.
 
 
NOVEMBER 2010
Youth Debate

The youth centre holds two public debates, on sexual harrassment against girls and police violence. Both debates are subsequently broadcast on local television station TBV..
MARCH 2011
Sexual Harrassement Play

A new improvised play on sexual harassment. The actors devised the piece following taped interviews and inter-group discussions. Many interviewed said it was the first time they had talked about their experiences of harassment.
 
 
MARCH 2011
Fire Dance Troop Started

Under tutelage of East 15 graduate Richard Hinton, boys and girls from the youth centre start a fire dance troupe. This is rapidly taken up by the tourist industry and communities.
APRIL 2011
KPH Gold

Joint research with Mcfarlane Burnet Institute suggests that youth see KPH as the 'gold standard of youth sexual health service provision in Vanuatu.
 
 
APRIL 2011
Disability Play

WSB's first joint production with the Vanuatu Society for Disabled People starts rehearsal and goes on to perform a play in primary schools in Port Vila where teachers say it changes their students' perception of disability.
MAY 2011
Hu nao wan tru man?

A new youth drama for the large number of youth keen to try acting... Who knows maybe this is the training school for WSB?!
 
 
MAY 2011
Vanua-tai MOU with Fisheries Dept

Dept of fisheries and Vanua-tai form MOU which formally recognises the role of Vanua-tai volunteers as legitimate reporters of illegal fishing practices in their villages.
JUNE 2011
Zero Balans Launched

Zero Balans WSB's first full length play on politics opens to packed houses in Vila. Its been a turbulent time in politics and the play is much talked about!
 
 
JUNE 2011
Young Life wins worldwide video competition

Young Life a band formed at the Youth Centre wins a worldwide video clip competition for songs about corruption and wins a trip to Nairobi to perform live.
JUNE 2011
Actors on Camp America!

Annie Berry and Jerry Brown from the youth centre selected to be trainers on the Camp America program. Another example of the avenues that open up for youth through the centre.
 
 
JULY 2011
Love Patrol 5 Filming Starts

Love Patrol 5 goes into production with new cameras... Cannon 5Ds taking the picture quality, hopefully, to a new level.
AUGUST 2011
New Lorry for Love Patrol

A new lorry for LP gear launched by the Deputy Director of Ausaid.
 
 
AUGUST 2011
AusAID hands over land lease

On the same day the deputy director of Ausaid officially hands over the lease for the buildings we have rented for 18 years. Ausaid have provided the money to buy the land ensuring that the whole WSB compound will now be accessible to youth for the foreseeable future.
AUGUST 2011
WSB hosts International Youth Day

As if to emphasize this, on the same signing day WSB plays host to other NGOs and 300 youth to mark International Youth day with a frenzy of sport, bands and hip hop dancers.
 
 
SEPTEMBER 2011
Yut Drama Klab STI Play

The youth Drama club performed a play called Use Me! It shows how condoms beat STIís and was performed to class 6 and year 10ís in Vila.
SEPTEMBER 2011
Disability Radio Play

The disabled theatre group worked on 3 radio dramas, which were scripted using custom stories they had collected.
 
 
SEPTEMBER 2011
Peace One Day

The WSB Sports Centre participates in the world-wide "Peace One Day". Sports activities were organized at WSB's sports complex and well attended by a lot of youth.
OCTOBER 2011
Fifth World Arts Summit

Danny Marcel and Jo Dorras spoke about Wan Smolbagís work using drama in sexual health and the Love Patrol series at a plenary session of the 5 th World Arts Summit in Melbourne Australia.
 
 
OCTOBER 2011
Nutrition Centre Open Day

The WSB Nutrition Centre hosts an open day, which was well attended by members of the public. On display at that time were methods of preparing food, food preservation, agricultural best practices in tropical settings and many delicious dishes were on display.
OCTOBER 2011
Love Patrol 4 Launch

The launch of Love Patrol 4 was very well attended and people said they loved the first 3 episodes!
 
 
NOVEMBER 2011
Women In Sports

The WSB Youth Centre under the Sports Centre hosts the Women in Spots program for Port Vila. A lot of teenage girls and women came to take part in the program. This program showcased a lot of sports qualities that our ladies possess.
NOVEMBER 2011
Diabetes Play

In October 2011 Heltfos rehearsed a play on diabetes, which they toured round Vila, Santo and Ambrym.
 
 
DECEMBER 2011
Young Life wins Reggae Faea

Young Life performed in and won the Reggae Faea music competition - out of 11 bands altogether. Of the 11 bands one of them was an all girls band from Wan Smolbag's Youth Centre.
 


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