Identification, Catharsis and Aesthetic Distance in the Performance of Lived Experience

I am honoured to present a paper on identification, catharsis and aesthetic distance in the performance of lived experience, at the forthcoming ECArTE (European Consortium for Arts Therapies Education) international conference in Alcalá de Henares between the 11th and 14th September 2019.

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This is a summary of my paper:

The paper investigates the healing and transformative potential of the performance of lived experience in dramatherapy by particularly focusing on the relational dynamic between the performer and the spectator / witness. The paper aims at discussing how the encounter with an other as performer within the shared space of the performance of lived experience provides renewed ways of understanding oneself as witness. It argues that a recognition of and engagement with otherness and difference is an inescapable condition for self-actualisation. In the light of the theme of the conference, the paper aims at exploring how the relationality inherent to the performance of lived experience enables the access to unknown truths and the unveiling of unsuspected imaginaries.

The paper is based on the discussion of the findings of a performance-based research investigating the production of meaning in autobiographical performance in dramatherapy. One of the research findings reveals how the process of witnessing in autobiographical performance enables the connection with oneself through the connection and identification with the performed lived experience of others. This identification results in a singular process of transformation and catharsis described as the unlocking of emotional and embodied states. The paper will particularly attempt to understand this phenomenon by suggesting how the process of identification is regulated through the aesthetic distance of the performance to create possibilities for renewed awareness, knowledge and change. The paper will make use of visual extracts of the research to illustrate the discussion.

 

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.