Building Resilience and Overcoming Adversity through Dance & Drama (BROAD) 2019 Research and Evaluation Report

Froggett, Lynn orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8406-6231 and Ortega Breton, Hugh orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6777-6522 (2020) Building Resilience and Overcoming Adversity through Dance & Drama (BROAD) 2019 Research and Evaluation Report. N/A. (Unpublished)

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In the summer of 2019, Odd Arts Theatre and Company Chameleon (dance) collaborated to deliver a new dance-theatre workshop called BROAD in secure settings in the criminal justice, health and educational sectors. Part-funded by Arts Council England, the project’s long-term aims are to improve and develop communication and self-esteem, in order to reduce violence and self-harming behaviours; and to improve wellbeing, increase resilience and overcome the barriers caused by previous adverse experiences. The Psychosocial Research Unit from the University of Central Lancashire partnered with the team to carry out a qualitative study of the pilot workshop in three of the five settings, which included a category C prison and two
secure homes for children. The three settings were very different in terms of the participants and the spaces used. The workshop ran for 2½ to 4 days, ending with a final performance before an audience, consisting of members of staff. Group numbers ranged from 3 to 6 service users, plus available staff and 3 facilitators. This report draws evidence from observations of the workshops’ process, and conversations with the workshop facilitators. The researchers found that:

Participants went on a journey of discovery into their expressive range, as they extended
the means whereby they could communicate with one another physically and verbally

Facilitator participation and participant leadership demonstrated that each individual
brought something unique to the group, increasing enjoyment and self-esteem

Dance/movement and theatre enabled participants to learn experientially about the
relationship between their feelings and their bodies, and move together in relation to one

The intimacy and trust produced by the combination of dance/movement and theatre
created the conditions for self-revelation and reflection.

Alongside these findings, the report identifies priority themes, principles of good facilitator
practice and recommendations for workshop development:

The facilitators should remain the same throughout the workshop because the
relationships formed are an important part of the process

The choice of music, by facilitators and participants, is a key aesthetic and relational factor

Acknowledging when participants leave or join the workshop is an important part of
maintaining the group-based effectiveness of the process

The timing of the ‘Trust Walks’ exercise is crucial because it is a pivotal experience

Reflective discussions should vary in length depending on how they are being used

The duration of the workshop should be maintained wherever possible because it
emphasises the distinctiveness of the workshop space and provides containment.

A longitudinal study that qualitatively evaluates the outcomes for individuals over a longer
period of time would deepen our understanding of the workshop’s effects.

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