Dialogical reflection on a dramatherapy intervention

I have published in the 2019 April/May edition of Mental Health Nursing a piece of collaborative writing with an ex-client about his experience of dramatherapy.

This constitutes a unique piece of qualitative evaluation whereby the voices of the therapist and the client interact to complete the nature of their individual experience.

The article can be accessed by clicking on the following link.

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Play/Time Labs at The Place Theatre

I am delighted to offer a number of Play/Time Lab group sessions at The Place Theatre in Bedford on the 24th April; 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd May 2019. These sessions will give participants opportunities to engage in spontaneous and improvised playfulness as a way of learning about themselves in relation to others.

Bookings can be made by sending an e-mail to jfjacques14@gmail.com. Maximum places: 12.

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Playing with power

I am delighted to facilitate a workshop entitled ‘Playing with Power’ at the Community Psychology Festival in Hertford on Monday 24th September.

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This workshop aims at exploring and addressing issues of power in community adult mental health care through improvisational play.

Play is an essential part of human development that enables us to engage with our inner sense of creativity and imagination, whilst engaging with others in a shared moment of fun.

Play also enables us to explore and reflect on issues affecting us personally and collectively. It opens renewed possibilities for awareness and transformation.

In this workshop, participants will be invited to reflect on issues of power in current community mental health delivery and provision through embodied action. It will give participants an opportunity to engage in spontaneous and improvised play as it emerges from their immediate interactions in a spirit of conviviality and acceptance.

The workshop provides a safe and contained structure to share moments of collective creativity, whilst helping us to reflect on how power dynamics and power relations affect our daily life.

Tickets and programme through the British Psychological Society website.

Long Table on Community Theatre

I will be hosting a Long Table on the role of community theatre at The Place Theatre in Bedford on Tuesday the 29th May.

The Long Table is a dinner party structured by etiquette, where conversation is the only course. It is an open forum designed to facilitate dialogue between people with a common interest. This Long Table will debate the role of community theatre in our local community. It is an opportunity to reflect on what community theatre is about or what we believe it should be about, to discuss the challenges encountered by the different local community theatres, and to explore actions and strategies that could support them for the benefits of the local community.

Details and registration by clicking on the link at the bottom of the picture.

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Click here for details and registration

 

An investigation into the production of meaning in autobiographical performance

I am pleased and honoured to present a summary of my current doctoral research on the co-creation of meaning in autobiographical performance in dramatherapy at the forthcoming ECArTE (European Consortium for Arts Therapies Education) international conference in Kraków between the 13th and 16th September 2017.

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This is a summary of my presentation:

My paper will present the findings of a doctoral research in dramatherapy which is currently being completed at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge (UK). This research aims at investigating the way in which the production of meaning in autobiographical performance in dramatherapy can be described as emerging from a relational and embodied encounter between performer and spectator (or witness) within the shared space of performance. It adopts an interdisciplinary approach and brings together most recent theoretical developments and empirical research in the fields of performance studies, dramatherapy, psychotherapy, intersubjective theory, phenomenology and literary studies to fully apprehend and provide an in-depth analysis of how meaning is created in the autobiographical performance space.

This study takes as its object of investigation the ‘fundamental theatrical relationship of performer and spectator’ (Meyerhold, 1969) and the way in which meaning in performance emerges from that relationship. The study considers how the different levels of interactions within the intersubjective space of autobiographical performance in dramatherapy inform, influence and contribute to the way meaning is created and constructed for the individuals involved in the process. In the light of the theme of the conference, this paper will particularly consider the way in which the performance space can be described as a transitional space that offers embodied opportunities for mutual transformation and renewed ways of understanding oneself in relation to and in dialogue with others.

The research adopts a multi-method methodological framework that combines arts-based inquiry (performance as research) and relational phenomenological research. The paper will provide illustrations of a particular and original visual method of cross-performance thematic analysis (split-screens) that was developed for the research. This method was designed to help investigate the dialogical interactions between different performed autobiographies and how these interactions contribute to the creation of meaning in autobiographical performance in dramatherapy.

Community theatre in context

The great German playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1948 in a seminal essay entitled ‘A Short Organum for the Theatre’:

We need a type of theatre which not only releases the feelings, insights and impulses possible within the particular historical field of human relations in which the action takes place, but employs and encourages those thoughts and feelings which help transform the field itself‘.

Brecht viewed theatre as very much embedded in its time. He advocated for a theatre that claimed its responsibility to reflect and explore the tensions, contradictions and conflicts of the particular historical moment in which it took place. He also recognised that theatre was a very dynamic event that socially engaged with the lived reality of people at different positions within the social hierarchy. But Brecht also insisted on the transformative potential of theatre that did not solely engage with the world but worked towards changing it by developing individual and collective critical reflective capacity.

Does Brecht’s statement relate in any way to community theatre in how we understand it or could understand it?

The answer I believe is yes because as obvious as it might sound community theatre should be committed to the community in which it operates.

This commitment is about ensuring access, diversity and openness to the whole of the community to make community theatre a celebratory moment of encounter, sharing and creativity.

But this commitment is also about exploring and engaging with what feels like important issues to that community. It is about considering what matters and offering a space whereby emotions, thoughts and desires can be safely explored, transformed into a creative moment and shared with the rest of the community. This makes community theatre not solely a place of creative freedom and play, but also a place of social significance that supports debates and democratic vitality within the community.