Drama for Life: let us breathe together

Drama for Life is a University of the Witwatersrand arts centre for social transformation and healing, bringing together the disciplines of applied drama and theatre, performance ethnography, performance as research, arts education, drama therapy and expressive arts therapies.

Drama For Life is excited about its intention for this year and beyond. Watch our video that introduces you to our arts centre, our intention for this year and beyond, and our approach, values and pedagogy.

At Drama for Life, we operate on two strong legs and here’s a look at our two-legged approach:

The applied drama and theatre leg

This leg focuses on uses such as invigorating performance, play, movement and storytelling for social healing and transformation.

The applied drama for therapy leg

This leg uses the same elements for the healing and transformation of individuals, groups and communities.

With these two legs, at Drama for Life, we can live life to its fullest – we can walk, run, jump and dance!

Complementing our two legs, we have two arms that help us do these things so much better: our teaching programmes and our creative research. What we teach, we plough back into our work in the world; and what we learn from the people and places where we work, we plough back into our teaching programmes.

At the end, this becomes a symbiotic dance of give and take between the two programmes – each one borrowing and learning from the other.

All these limbs are connected to the spine of Drama for Life – our values and our pedagogy:

The values we share

Our values interrogate what it means to be human in our new, changed world. We look at how we adapt and become resilient in a challenging world, and help others to be resilient. Finally, we look at how we achieve all this through the aesthetic power of the arts –through making beautiful and impacting work.

Our pedagogy

Pedagogy is the way we believe we should teach and learn – it’s different from the way we were taught and learnt growing up – we believe in learning in, through and with the body – because within the body, we find tacit knowledge that we want to connect to all the other knowledge in the space.

We want to do this collaboratively – in groups, ensemble work, communities and relationships. We also want to learn by immersing ourselves in context, in the places where we work and learn.

Importantly, we want to immerse ourselves in the making and performing of our creative work in order to achieve social transformation and healing in the world.

There is a missing piece … “the neck” or “the bridge” where the voice sits – through our voices, we can ring out our stories into the world.

Wherever you connect with the Drama For Life body, we want you to also be empowered enough to sing and ring your voice into the world – and we want to support you to also help others bring their voices into the world.

At Drama For Life, we believe we cannot do this work if we don’t have breath. The Covid-19 coronavirus has literally and figuratively choked us and stolen our breathing space.

We invite you to come and breathe with us,so we can:

  • Release our tension
  • Make room for the heart
  • Energise our bodies to action
  • Switch on our brains towards new ideas
  • Connect with the spirit

Practically, we are looking to focus on programmes and projects that will help bring breathing space by bringing mental health through the arts to schools and communities.

Does this call resonate with you? Join us as we remind ourselves and the world that the arts, just like breath, are vital. For more information on Drama For Life, visit our website at https://www.dramaforlife.co.za/ and follow us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.