Thursday, 5 November 2015

Playback Tuesdays at Selkirk Mental Health Centre

Selkirk Mental Health Centre, in collaboration with Artists in Healthcare and Gas Station Arts Centre, generously welcomed Red Threads of Peace Project facilitators Bequie Lake and Dana Rungay, along with movement therapist Karissa Martens to do “Playback Tuesdays.” Cairn Moore of Sarasvati Productions also attended the sessions as a writer and observer. The project kicked off with a playback performance on September 22, followed by six one-hour playback theatre workshops in each of the health centre areas. The final performance will be November 10th. The Red Threads performers who have participated include: Elena Anciro, Nick Kowalchuk, Bequie Lake, Dawn Lavand, Loc Lu, Dana Rungay, and Martial Tougas.

The participation of the patients and staff have been heartwarming. The groups warm up with movement to their choice of music from Karissa’s huge repertoire – and if Karissa doesn’t have it this week, she gets it for you next week! This individual attention and caring is really appreciated by the patients. Theatre games then build group safety, confidence, and esprit de corps between the patients, staff, and facilitators. Moments and experiences of the participants are offered for playback in one of the playback forms.

Participants tell of past experiences and present day happenings and feelings. Playback Theatre honours the individual voices in the group through the simple improvisational performance. Often these stories resonate with other members of the group. It is gratifying to see the patients enjoying their involvement; seeing their story performed; playing the music; or performing with the troupe. Several patients and staff have spoken about how much having Playback Tuesdays has meant to their well being and the need for these types of programs in the health centre.

“Playback Tuesdays” has deepened our awareness, insight, understanding, and compassion of issues in mental health. When a participant says, “I’ll never forget you (Playback Tuesdays team),” we are reminded of our gratitude for the opportunity to touch lives through playback.

From bottom left to right: Cairn Moore, Dana Rungay, Bequie Lake, Karissa Martens