I was recently involved in delivering a film project with Geese Theatre at The Farndon Unit, a secure mental health unit for women. It was fantastic to collaborate with Emma and Ruth, experienced practitioners with a real passion for and belief in transformative arts provision. More to the point, they had a belief in the people they were working with and the experience and tools needed to help participants have a positive experience. I’m incredibly proud of the finished film and the responses to it.
Over the four weeks of the project, the women took the lead in developing the story that they wanted to share, took on acting roles, got involved in audio recording and operating the camera and created an impressive film illustrating some of their own experiences on their journey towards recovery. As a facilitator and film maker I learnt a lot, not only from working alongside Geese, but also the staff at Farndon and the women themselves. The group were so generous in sharing their stories, ideas and enthusiasm – even on days when they were finding it tough.
Their film and their experiences of the project were recently shared at Elysium Healthcare’s Service User conference.
Andy Watson, director of @GeeseTheatre discusses the impact of using theatre in a secure setting to engage service users in their recovery. ‘Lucy’s story’ shows the feelings a service user experiences when arriving at a new care setting, created by Farndon Unit #SuConf18 pic.twitter.com/ySijnt9QlI
— Elysium Healthcare (@elysiumcare) September 20, 2018
— GeeseTheatreCEO (@CeoGeese) September 20, 2018
I know that travelling to and standing up at a conference to discuss the project was a huge step for those members of the group who were able to travel to present the film. I’m already looking forward to another project with Geese and another opportunity to learn from both practitioners and participants as I shape my own practice.
If you want to learn more about Geese Theatre’s work then I highly recommend the current exhibition at Mac Birmingham which documents and celebrates 30 years of their work.