Classroom Drama Therapy Program (responsible expert: KULeuven, Belgium; implementing partners: KULeuven, Belgium; University of Copenhagen, Denmark; University of Sussex, UK)
The intervention is based on Boal’s forum and Fox’ playback theater (Fox, 2000), and was developed at McGill Transcultural Psychiatry and Concordia University Creative Arts.
Playback theatre consists of a specific modality of improvisational practice aiming at personal and social transformation through sharing lived experiences within a ritual space. Revolving around a commitment to social justice, playback theatre provides possibilities to address migration-related themes (e.g., exile, exclusion, inequality), revolving around the actively re-shaping of social structures in theatre practice and enabling dynamic relational positions to emerge within a participant group.
The program consists of a nine-week sequence of 75-minute sessions, set up with the regular class group. Coordinated by a play director, a team trained actors and musicians (with experience in applied theatre in vulnerable communities) develop a theatrical representation of stories shared by participant-adolescents. In response to this replay, students participate in a joint reconstruction of the story, enabling the dynamic shifting of meanings and the empowering experience of modifying situations and moving from positions of passivity to agency and co-construction.
Throughout the 10-week program, student involvement and topic complexity gradually increase. Studies have indicated that participation in the drama workshop intervention program was associated with a decrease in psychosocial impairment in first-generation migrant and refugee adolescents (Rousseau et al., 2007, 2014).