“I came up with this project as a way to help them get through their dark times using art and music.”
Besides being named a National Artist in performing arts in 2014, actress, playwright, director and teacher Patravadi Mejudhon, a.k.a. Khru Lek, is the founder of Bangkok’s Patravadi Theater and Vic Hua Hin. We caught up with her in Hua Hin about her latest project, The Broken Violin, which aims to turn young people’s lives around through music, performing arts and even a new skate park.
What inspired The Broken Violin project?
When I was studying art therapy at Chulalongkorn University, I conducted surveys that brought to light the problems faced by youths from broken and unhappy homes. Many troubled children become vulnerable and lost, which can lead them to adopt self-destructive behaviors, such as substance and alcohol abuse, gambling, violence, theft and crime, prostitution, underage pregnancy, computer game addiction and misuse of social media. I came up with this project as a way to help them get through their dark times using art and music instead.
“I came up with this project as a way to help them get through their dark times using art and music”
What does it entail?
Through creative activities, the project aims to improve the psychological well-being of troubled youths from the Baan Kanchanapisek Vocational Juvenile Training Centre for Boys and the Phra Pradaeng Community. We teach them artistic disciplines, including performing arts, music and skateboarding, culminating in a series of live performances.
Are there sufficient government initiatives for young people in Thailand?
Personally, I think the government should pay more attention to youths. There are not enough public and creative spaces where they can develop their potential and express themselves, be it a place to play or to voice their opinions. That’s why I recently created the free-to-use Hua Hin Skate Park in my school—Patravadi School.
What future do you wish for your students?
I want them to enjoy their lives, to be honest to themselves and to do good things for their communities. I hope that they can become healthy adults and future leaders, be bold to share and exchange opinions, and, most crucially, to be good people in society who do no harm to others.
Do you plan to expand your project outside of Hua Hin?
Yes, we would like to expand our vision for helping youths to other places. We are trying to find places that would allow us to use their public spaces for performances, then hopefully we would be able to help young people in those communities, just like we have done in Hua Hin.