Three hours before our workshop was due to begin there was a frantic rethinking and adapting of the content and running programme for our morning with the students (see Director’s Notes).
Gerald and two of The Company agreed a plan and with surprising calm off we went.
The students were guided through a variety of games while we read and re-read our monologues which hadn’t been performed in person for 2 and a half years. From what we could hear, the games were a great success and they subtly introduced co-operation, listening and awareness from an active rather than passive position.
Our monologues followed, requiring the students to quickly adjust between two subjects presented in very different ways. The small group feedback was interesting and varied.
For me the most helpful and rewarding part of these workshops is when The Company go round each group to try and ‘answer the questions you wouldn’t ask in a clinical setting’. This is our opportunity to offer some insight into our experiences and hopefully enable participants to see the uniqueness of each individual without judgement. In my opinion there is always a need for education and a greater understanding of mental health issues which cannot be learned from textbooks alone. I hope The Company can give something, however small, that sparks a new train of thought or challenges an outlook or approach.
On this occasion some of the thoughts expressed were ones I had not received before. They were definitely thought provoking; I discovered that what is obvious to me is not necessarily obvious to others (a lesson I’ve taken on board).
When we return we intend to perform our 2 act piece currently being devised. Previously we have been privileged to spend a whole day with students and we would love to do so again. There is so much to explore which must surely be beneficial to all - students and actors alike.