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Exploring mental health through improv theatre

March 2, 2020 — 

A troupe of University of Manitoba students take centre stage tonight to help reduce stigmas surrounding mental health.

The students will be creating improv performances that portray emotions and feelings from the personal stories of audience members.

“Students struggle with mental health,” said Ava Glesby, a Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management student and event organizer.

“This is a way to show support and share their stories.”

Ten FKRM learners, along with two Faculty of Science students, and faculty and staff from the Faculty of Social Work, took part in playback theatre training over the weekend to prepare. They completed 16 hours of training to be certified in creative expression and community building for mental health.

Playback theatre is improvisational performance drawing on the personal moments, experiences of people attending the sessions. The troupe will take an experience from someone in the audience, for example, and demonstrate it through a variety of forms of stage play.

“It takes the story and experience and creates a sense of assurance and relief,” added Glesby.

It’s all part of the The “I’m Fine – The Tell Us Project,” a student-led professional development project funded by TELUS. The aim is to explore mental health, well-being and peer support using the tools of playback theatre.

The event, a collaboration between the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management’s student council and Red Threads of Peace Playback Theatre, is tonight, Monday, March 2 from 7 to 8 p.m. in 133 Frank Kennedy Centre at the university’s Fort Garry Campus. The event is free and open to all. Please RSVP your attendance.


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