Thursday, September 11, 2014

Therapy, Projection, and Shadow Theatre

Playing with light against a giant cotton screen, I introduced students of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology to Shadow Theatre as a projective Drama Therapy Technique to process trauma. Drawing from the strengths based, community oriented approach that Shadow Liberation embodies, we focussed on how Shadow Theatre can be used in Therapy to support the development of emotional regulation and self soothing capacity.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bystander Intervention in Domestic Violence with Forum Theatre and Playback

It was great to catch up with my early mentor, Marc Weinblatt, and see him in action facilitating Forum and Playback Theatre for “Eye Witness: Allies to Domestic Violence” performed by Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble last night in Port Townsend, WA. This project was in partnership with Dove House Advocacy Shelter, and was focussed on activating men who are bystanders in Domestic Violence situations. After a critical 90 minutes of Forum Theatre, Marc invited sharing from the audience which brought out personal stories which were mirrored back to the tellers through Playback Theatre short forms. Ending with a Playback brought out deep feelings and served to shift the discussion from the head to the heart. A powerful evening!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Shadow Liberation at The Evergreen State College

Theatre of the Oppressed + Drama Therapy + Shadow Theatre = Shadow Liberation. In this workshop/presentation, a group of students created shadow scenes with 4 overhead projectors in a performance studio at the The Evergreen State College.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fundraiser for Shadow Liberation

To raise funds for producing a short film about Shadow Liberation, we threw a Fundraiser and Shadow Dance Party with DJ Slimrock at the Olympia Ballroom in Olympia, WA.

Plus special guest performances by Alison Marie Baker of Full Moon Radio with Rhea Melina Dorsey and an opening set by DJ Kalambre of KAOS Community Radio spinning Alternative Latin flavor.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Devising Forum Theatre with Shadows

To share the art of crafting participatory shadow theatre, I teamed up with Living Stages to offer a Shadow Liberation workshop titled, Devising Forum Theatre with Shadows, at Headwaters Theatre in Portland, OR.

What started out as a a couple stories about misogyny, grew more complex as the group physically improvised visual narratives without dialogue. The workshop was followed by an artist talk where I told the story of Shadow Liberation.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Visual Metaphors in Drama Therapy

I always love trainings for trainers and this 2 day workshop in Chittagong, Bangladesh was no exception. The participants came up with a rich visual language to create aesthetic distance. This was the final session of the National Therapeutic Theatre Workshop. I'll let the images speak for themselves.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shedding Light with Youth in Bangladesh: Shadow Theatre Therapy

There was so much love in the room at the end of this 3-day workshop with Youth in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Through dancing and shadow making family violence emerged as a force that many of the participants face. A few youth shared their stories which were crafted into shadow plays. The storyteller would then watch their story, pause it, reflect, react, remix. The process was incredibly insightful and cathartic, yet I was left with ethical questions. What is the obligation of a therapist or teacher who knows of abuse in a context where there is no reporting mandate? How do the benefits of processing an ongoing problem weigh against the reality that we weren't concretely strategizing to transform the immediate situation? We ended the workshop on a high note with love letter style note passing as our closing appreciation structure.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Aesthetics & Embodied Empathy in Cross Cultural Dialogue

I had a rich experience exploring challenges to authentic cultural exchange, archetypal conflicts and power dynamics, with students of Asian University for Women, Chittagong, Bangladesh. There were 45 young women from 14 countries who attended this workshop, many of them coming from ethnic or religious minority groups in their home countries. We did scene work around cultural clashes they experience in the school and also engaged in dramatic deconstruction of specific cultural manifestations of patriarchy and gender violence.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rana Plaza Rising: Transforming Trauma & Enacting Resilience

Ever since Rana Plaza collapsed killing over a thousand garment workers and injuring another 3000 people, Unite Theatre for Social Action (UTSA) has been using Psychodrama and Playback Theatre with survivors to promote Psychosocial wellbeing (see the Al-Jezeera piece about their work). As a continuation of their work UTSA organized this 2 day experiential workshop for survivors of the Rana Plaza Tragedy at YMCA Training Centre, Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Drawing from the strengths based approach that UTSA embodies, participants were invited to engage in creative approaches to further develop their goals, emotional regulation, and self soothing capacity. Through collaborative and trust building activities we cultivated a supportive and open environment in the group that made it possible to share and honor personal stories of the unseen impacts of the Savar Tragedy. With the knowledge that these painful stories are common experiences, participants wove their collective truths into powerful performance pieces in celebration of their humanity and resilience in the face of adversity.

To gain more insight into the Savar Community members lives a year after the tragedy, I suggest checking out Tears in the Fabric.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Shadows of Gender Justice in Dhaka

A lively group of Theatre Activists and Development Workers turned up for my 2-day workshop titled "Shadow Theatre for Gender Justice" held at the Bangladesh Shilpokola Academy, in Dhaka. In addition to the passionate participation, I was moved by the depth of inspective engagement and social critique that the participants brought to the workshop.