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Shine On

The creative journey towards Shine On

Posted on 23 May 2012

In the run up to Shine On, the next in a series of shows promoting health and well-being through the arts, one member of the 50+ project reveals her experience of the workshops that will culminate in the production staged in B2 from Thurs 28 – Sat 30 June.

“I suffered from low self esteem and severe anxiety until I was well into my 30s. However, success in my career in Mental Health, gaining a first degree and starting a Masters, coupled with enabling others to overcome their difficulties, boosted my self esteem and confidence.
Sadly, I had to retire earlier than planned due to health problems and it became difficult to socialize or join in activities due to high pain levels and poor mobility. This knocked my confidence and self esteem considerably and the anxiety began to resurface. Surgery has helped with the pain and mobility, thus freeing me to join in activities and be able to meet people again. Although I enjoyed socializing, I was finding it quite hard work, until I joined the Theatre Workshop at the suggestion of Jackie, who runs the keep fit class that I attend each week. Since joining the group, my confidence has come back and my self esteem has blossomed. I have been too busy laughing to worry about getting anxious.
We have covered a range of activities with a different emphasis each week. Everyone is very friendly and Antonia is excellent at facilitating and supporting the members throughout the sessions. Anyone who has any doubt about the fun we have, only needs to stand outside and listen to our laughter and watch our smiling faces leaving each week.
Leading up to Christmas, we talked about the journey that we had each experienced on our way to the theatre. From the plotting of our various journeys on a large piece of paper, the group developed a drama based on the emotions experienced, which were shown through facial expressions and hand movement. This was great fun and showed the excellent observation and acting skills of the group.
We also had a mime themed week, where I was the wheels on a bus and a figurehead on a boat. This was great fun, giving our imagination free rein. For me, the best part was when we were put into pairs and we had to act out a situation of our own choosing. I was the narrator and my partner was the actor. The first situation was my partner getting a ‘Dear John’ letter and the second was a plane crashing. I had great fun narrating the part of air stewardess, whilst my partner frantically looked for her life belt etc.
The theme for the last week was creative writing. The first exercise was so interesting. We had to describe a person known to us in terms of what fruit, colour and house they would be. The range of ideas and words that the group produced was amazing. We then selected a picture each and answered what we felt about it, why we picked it and each did a paragraph about it. My picture was of a man’s brown tweed suit. I imagined that it belonged to a farmer and wrote about him and when he would wear the suit.
Next came the movement and dance session. I felt somewhat ambiguous about this subject and was very unsure that I would enjoy it. However, our guest facilitator for this session was very able and clear in her instructions. The group threw themselves into it with their usual verve, and a great time was had by all.
The following session was based on a play that one of our members had written. Oh, to have such a creative talent! Initially, we read the play with each of us taking a part. Some of us were quite nervous reading aloud to the group but most showed their ability to quickly get into a part. We further developed the characters from the play through various activities, including a question and answer session with the person in the hot seat staying in character. That was fascinating and hilarious too.”

- Creative Gymnasium Project Participant

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