it’s been a rich and richly intense week. it included having to deal with two crises in a freelance project and two crises in two different deep:black projects; and in total juxtaposition attending a performance by poet Alice Oswald at the Southbank which came from stillness, darkness, slowness, spreading out-ness and spacing out-ness. it was beautiful in an earthy way and magical without any special features but voice and melody.
it was my antidote this week of mad firefighting and the most amazing pause on the door step to this week’s main feature, our deep:black event on friday’s ‘World Mental Health Day‘: over 10 weeks we developed an interactive and creative sharing event using drama, performance and photography with a group of young adults who are involved with one of london’s NHS mental health services. the final week brought a number of new logistical challenges (including a shopping list of odd props and celebratory snacks; transporting 2 trolleys and a large recycling bag of dried leaves from Bow to Wood Green), nerve-racking moments (including a participant ill and unable to come, another participant letting us know on friday afternoon that he’d have to go for an emergency appointment at the A&E unit and would arrive late) and some unexpected surprises (a participants re-appearing after we thought he had left feeling too overwhelmed with the idea of a sharing some of the work with an audience; the participant at the A&E unit arriving on time for the sharing because there was nobody else waiting at the A&E unit that afternoon).
the actual sharing event was beyond anything that we had ever dared to hope for: 5 participants being there with total commitment, standing in their power, voicing and sharing what they felt very deeply about with a courage that truly came from the ‘cœur‘, the heart and reached the audience’s heart. ‘heartening’ is one of the words that came to my mind, and the power and infectiousness of people being willing to be vulnerable which enable listening and understanding on a deeper human level. and witnessing what both members of the audience and our participants got out of this – out of our way of working – reconfirmed that daring to take people out of their comfort zone is not only possible (with the right level of support, safety and sensitivity) but the most rewarding and reconciling way of working with communities. and was worth every moment of tiredness from schlepping stuff across london and perfecting arrangements for the big event.