Theatre and Drama
Alison O'Connor is a theatre practitioner and the highlights of her career include:
- developing a Human Rights theatre project at a Women's prison in Azerbaijan, (Geese Theatre, Azerbaijan, 2005),
- devising and performing a theatre show about human trafficking, "Open your Eyes" for the British Council, (Bulgaria, 2004),
- creating a theatre performance with patients and staff in a Romanian orphanage (Romania, 2000),
- developing creative programmes at Caswell Clinic, Medium Secure Forensic Hospital (Bridgend, Wales, 2008),
- creating "Stories to Leave" which gave people who were at the very end of life a platform in the theatre to express how they felt about living and dying, (Re-Live, Cardiff, 2010)
She also created the theatre show "Abandoned Brothers" with military veterans suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and their families. (Re-Live, Cardiff, Wales 2012) This show has been nominated for the Young Critics Award, Theatre in Wales Awards 2013.
Transformation in Arts and Health - Stories that Change
The two key strands Alison wishes to explore are:
- the transformational and cathartic potential of sharing personal stories with an audience
- the wider, political impact of this process.
When does the personal become political? Does placing real people and their own true stories on stage have the potential to change public policy? Can theatre be an agent for social change? Is this work Witness theatre, public catharsis, documentary? A therapeutic exchange in the theatre?
Alison will be researching and engaging with the work of leading arts in health practitioners and artists, including Professor Michael Balfour and Sarah Woodland of Griffith University, Australia, Collective Encounters in Liverpool, Outside the Wire, USA and Quarantine, UK.
She also hopes to engage with Dr Gwen Adshead, a clinical psychologist at Broadmoor Hospital who is a leader in the field of narrative approaches to healing and transformation.
Alison will undertake training with the Northern School of Psychodrama and the Birmingham School of Psychodrama. This innovative training will guide her in a new approach as she enters into an experiential performance project where she herself will experience the process of life review and autobiographical performance from the perspective of the participant - experiencing what it is like to tell her own story.
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