Did you know…the arts can benefit your health and well being?
As World Health Day (Saturday 7 April) approaches, we wanted to update you on the Creative Gymnasium project, which is stimulating engagement with the arts as a way to promote health and well-being, both through participating in arts activity, and as a way of exploring key issues within Coventry.
1. Ministy of Meh
The first Creative Gymnasium production, Ministry of Meh was performed by the Senior Youth Theatre in B2 in February and received positive feedback from audiences [Watch a video of audience reactions to the production]. Ministry of Meh explored what it would be like if the NHS was abolished and how people might take more responsibility for their own health if they had to pay for healthcare.
2. Sexual Health
This evening there is a screening of a film developed by young mothers, which tell the stories of four young women who share their experiences of becoming mothers. Often uplifting, always honest, these shorts reveal the challenges and pleasures of parenting. Teenage pregnancy is still a major issue within Coventry and the film, alongside educational resources, will be used by local schools to discuss sexual health, relationships and life choices.
3. Truth or Dare
Rehearsals are under way for Truth or Dare, the new show by Acting Out which explores issues regarding mental well being faced by teenagers and the impact they have upon their lives and the lives of those around them. See our video of members of Acting Out discussing the devising process and their thoughts on the final script.
4. Shine On
The over 50’s group are beginning the devising process and workshop-ing ideas for their production, Shine On. Using everyday stories from the lives of Coventry’s older generations Shine On will piece celebrate the memories, rituals, hopes and heritage of the elders in our city.
5. Close to Home
The final production of Creative Gymnasium is Close to Home, a new play by the Belgrade’s Black Youth Theatre exploring the stories of people affected by HIV and AIDS in Coventry. The impact of HIV and AIDS on the African continent is increasingly visible in the West, but shock figures in Africa are blinding us to a rising number of incidents on our doorstep. Participants are currently working with health professionals from the Terrence Higgins Trust to increase their understand HIV and AIDS before they begin working on the script.
6. Coventry University Research
Researchers from Coventry University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Learning Innovation Research Centre have been regularly attending sessions, interviewing participants and collating data on the benefits that Creative Gymnasium has passed onto to the participants of the Young Mother’s and Over 50’s groups. This data will be presented at a conference in July and will develop an arts-based research framework that will measure the impact of the arts activity on the health of participants.