The Heritage Project

Featuring children from all Cultural Backgrounds
in vibrant and unique Performances

Having fourteen projects completed in eight different countries, The Heritage Project has had the privilege to work with multiple ethnic groups throughout the world. With its main purpose to secure cultural heritage, The Heritage Project mainly collaborates with minorities and refugees whose cultural background is vulnerable and undervalued.   

A project is typically organized on a primary school. During the project week the children will be practicing their theatre play, as well as the traditional music and dance styles that will be included. Participants also learn how to make their own masks, costumes and other props using traditional handcraft with natural materials. Local teachers and artists are tightly involved during this process, ensuring an authentic representation of their culture. At the end of the week families and friends are invited to watch the children perform and celebrate their cultural heritage.

Malaysia 2019

Together with the Dusun people in Borneo (Malaysia), “The Legend of Tambunan” was dramatized by the students of St. David Toboh primary school in Tambunan. The story tells how the Tamadon and Gombunan tribes defeat their mutual enemy Tonsudung. After their victory they lived together in harmony, naming their settlement “Tambunan”.

The Dusun are an indigenous people living in Sabah, Northern Borneo. They have a rich culture with traditional music, dance, costumes and handcrafts. Many rituals are closely related to the natural environment home to the Dusun, with dances resembling the movement of flying birds, and instruments and tools made of natural materials. The Dusun culture as well as its unique language is at risk of being completely assimilated into the dominant Malaysian culture. Projects like The Heritage Project encourage children to maintain their mother tongue, and to cherish their local customs. 

Nepal 2017

The Heritage Project was organized at Poolbari Primary School in Nepal in connection with the Tihar festival. Tihar, like Diwali, is a five-day Hindu festival that celebrates the four creatures associated with the Hindu god of death Yama. The children at Poolbari Primary School portrayed these five days in their play to visualize the legend behind the Tihar festival.

The demographics in Nepal are composed of multiple ethnic groups with the majority being Hindu. The remains of a strong caste-system still support social injustice to many of these ethnicities.

Thailand 2017

The Heritage Project worked with the Karen people in Northern Thailand in 2017. At Som Poi and Mor Wa Kee village the folk story “Pujs Da and Deif Muj Bau” was dramatized and performed by the children of the local community. Deif Muj Bau plots to have her seven stepsons murdered. After many failed attempts the stepsons take revenge and kill her. Deif Muj Bau spirit transforms into an angry buffalo who eats all the sons, except for Pujs Da, the youngest of the seven. Pujs Da manages to release his brothers, but then transforms into a buffalo himself.

The Karen are an indigenous people living in Myanmar and Northern Thailand. They have their own language as well as many unique traditions. During the Burmese insurgency in 1949 the Karen were prosecuted and displaced. Many are now living along the Thailand-Myanmar border being in a fragile position as a minority.   

Latvia 2016

The Heritage Project was organized for the children participating in the festival for Latvian Music in Madona. During the week the folkstory “Sprīdītis” was rehearsed and performed at Cesvaine Palace.

The Mother of the Wind awarded Sprīdītis with a magic flute that could force someone to dance whenever it was played. He used this to defeat the devil that wanted to kidnap the princess. Because Sprīdītis was the only one that succeeded he was granted the kingdom as well as the princess as his wife. The princess however did not want to marry Sprīdītis. She made a pact with a witch to have Sprīdītis murdered. By using a magic ring, Sprīdītis could transform into a swan and fly back home.

Norway 2016

As response to the refugee-crisis in Europe, The Heritage Project collaborated with an asylum center in Trondheim, Norway. About fifteen refugees from Africa and Asia proudly presented their cultural heritage in a small music and dance performance.

Since 2015 Europe has seen multiple waves of refugees fleeing war, poverty, prosecuting and climate change. The treatment and reception of refugees has not been equal, and many must wait years in uncertainty to receive an answer on their status.

Ecuador 2015

In an isolated community deep in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador the Quechuan story of The Magic Flute was dramatized by its inhabitants. 

The Quechua are an indigenous people from the Andes Region in South America. They represent a rich culture with their own language and traditions. 

Sri Lanka 2012

The Heritage Project had its startup in Sri Lanka where the children from Lunugamvehera and Panama Village dramatized the story of Mahadenamutta. This Sri Lankan folk legend is an old guru that is supposed to be wise, but really is not. After one night the people in the village wake up only to find out that their cattle have been eaten by a monster. They go to Mahadenamutta for council. After many foolish attempts to safe the cattle, Mahadenamutta goes on a long journey to find a proper solution. He stumbles across a group of dancers and musicians. Their songs could tame the beast! The plan works. The monster likes the music so much that he joins the village as protector of the cattle.

After a long and bloody civil war between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority, poverty and ethnic tension still prevail. Cultural projects like The Heritage Project that work with mixed communities are a small step towards reconciliation and unity.