action research

Theatre is a form of knowledge, it should and can also be a means of transforming society. In our weekly workshop sessions we find that theatre can help members build the futures they long for rather than just waiting for it to happen.

What if…?

…black men who struggle with their mental health and well being had access to:

  • Artists with lived experienced of their own mental health struggles
  • Artists with similar intersectional experiences to them
  • Artists who made critical acclaimed work 
  • Art spaces that create specific programmes around peoples mental health 
  • Other people who are struggling with their mental health 
  • Other people who are interested in making or developing their creativity 
  • The ability to work collectively to decide how the above happens and also influence and impact how service’s support Black men and their mental health and well-being 

…black men who struggle with their mental health and well-being had the potential to:

  • Build lasting relationships with artists and arts organisations that want to nourish Black men, their creative practice and communities. To be in brave creative spaces so they can share what has or is happening to them.
  • Be able to use art to criticise the systems that are failing them 
  • Being able to use art to imagine something other 
  • Be able to use art to help what they imagine become real 
  • Build relationships, conversations and for the care to be real, not performative, or some weird trauma fetishisation 
  • Focus on a process of making, but also have access to ways of sharing their process that is nourishing 
  • Be part of something bigger than themselves, but also be seen as individuals 

The videos below demonstrate some of our work and processes. Our work often provokes the audience to consider alternative scenarios.

You can navigate to more of our specific work by clicking on these options:

Community Engagement Games & Exercises Trailers

We have completed a cycle of work which took place from November 2021 – May 2022. The aim of this new commission from Lambeth Council was to:

  • Increase participant knowledge in their mental health
  • Increase in participant confidence and skills
  • Increase in peer and community capacity
  • Generate a greater system understanding of the issues impacting on health and wellbeing of black men to inform interventions

In our weekly workshop sessions we spend our time working creatively through theatrical symbolisations that explore the ways in which the members are oppressed by social & internal factors. Through this work we aim to improve the men’s mental health and wellbeing and identify ways in which the group can influence the quality of services that are provided for them in the community.

This video is is a performance we did at a Mental Health Festival in Dagenham October 2020
This video demonstrates how audience interaction works in the show.
This is our Zoom show, performed during Mental Health Awareness Week, Friday 14th May 2021.

Brixton

Audience interaction at the Karibu Centre Brixton October 2019
Warm up exercise with audience before the show at Brixton Library February 2020
Full zoom show and audience interaction
Audience Interaction from zoom performance 25th May 2020
Zoom breakout rooms and debate from our performance
This zoom performance was part of world health day and stress awareness month 7th April 2021
Second zoom performance that was part of world health day and stress awareness month 9th April 2021

Croydon

This was taken from our community event on 27th August 2021
This is the behind-the-scenes documentary for Kwame & the end of the summer lockdown
This was our performance during Black History Month 2021 at Croydon BME Forum

The man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him and who he will miss terribly.

Pablo Neruda

Games & Exercises

These videos show you some of the games we employ in our weekly workshops.

Follow my leader game is often played by the group at the very beginning of our sessions after the check in.
Yes Lets! is one of our favourites and works well for everyone no matter the suggestion is!
Bandleader game invites different kinds of skills from the players to play effectively
Egg, Bird & Supreme Being game is often where some participants employ devious tactics and strategies to remain cream of the crop!
123 Bradford is a classic pairs game but here the players are in two groups trying to make it work.
The Bears are Coming! requires concentration and focus. Easy for some but difficult for others.
Follow the Sound brings about trust, awareness and listening as sometimes it can be difficult to hear within the forest of sounds
The Blind Car is fun to play if you can operate a car without any problems
The Rhythm Game (part 1)
The Rhythm Game (part 2)
The Splat Game, you need to be quick on the draw!
The Jumping Game, is it possible that the whole group can jump together all at once?
Guess The Word game it’s not always easy to physically express a word for the other team to guess
The Salt & Pepper game, for this one needs to remain cool calm and collective whilst problem solving otherwise….

Streatham

Warming up the audience before the show at Streatham Library February 2020
Full performance at Streatham Library February 2020
Full performance and audience interaction at Streatham Library February 2019
Mosaic Clubhouse

This is a clip from our first session at Mosaic Clubhouse. 42 black men attended and participated in introductions and a discussion about what it’s like to be a in group and speak honestly about how they are. Many of the men commented on how uplifting the experience was. They spoke honestly about their own experiences and decision making around suicide, and also shared and acknowledged bereavements in the past year.  There was some discussion about autism and how the group can support each other with the group experience when they are easily overwhelmed

This activity was taken from the 2nd week 08.11.2021
Participants worked in sub groups to work on two tasks, 1) how can Black improve the Mental Health & Well Being and 2) what suggestions or recommendations do they have that will improve the quality of the existing services in our communities. Part 1 of 4
Part 2 of 4
Part 3 of 4
4 of 4
Here’s a video of how we do a ‘check in’ with e group members. I can’t believe the amount of amazing men in this room!!
This is the ‘Follow My Leader exercise (Part 1 of 3)
Part 2
Part 3
‘What are you doing’ game
Working in sub-groups the men we tasked to come with a sketch that relates to their ‘lived experience’ Part 1 of 3
Part 2 of 3
Part 3 of 3

Trailers

This is the group ‘check out’ from 4th session 22.11.2021
Playing the ‘Bomb & Shield’ game
Playing the ‘follow the sound’ game
This is a scene that that the group devised by working in sub-groups (1 of 5)
This is a scene that that the group devised by working in sub-groups (2 of 5)
This is a scene that that the group devised by working in sub-groups (3 of 5)
This is a scene that that the group devised by working in sub-groups (4 of 5)
This is a scene that that the group devised by working in sub-groups (5 of 5)
A sketch that is told in reverse order
A two hander by a new member and and existing member
Collectively, not everyone agrees with how we express ourselves in a performance
Feedback about the groups public performance event
Here is the full video of our community engagement performance event on the 7th December 2021
This is the behind-the-scenes documentary of the event
TRAILER
TRAILER 2
This video will give you an overview of the programme.
Here the group members contribute and create ideas around what the “system” is in society that impacts them
Explaining the dramaturgy of our forthcoming community engagement event (part 1 of 2)
This video was part of our outreach and recruitment drive to market and advertise the new project
Explaining the dramaturgy of our forthcoming community engagement event (part 2 of 2)
Exploring Power
BLM George Floyd
Hearing Voices
Experience of being assessed by health professionals in a clinical setting

Exercises

Four Word Build is it possible to represent the expression “Mental Health” in four words? it takes time!
The Pinball analogy is employed to gain insights into the pressures at large inside the mind of our character Kwame
Stigma Improvisation part 1
Stigma Improvisation part 2

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