Lead partner: Belgium
Classroom Drama Therapy Program (responsible expert: KULeuven, Belgium)
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).