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arts therapies, Dramatherapy, ritual theatre, ritual theatre event, Uncategorized

Celebrating Ritual Theatre – photographs from the book launch

My deepest thanks to all those who attended the Ritual Theatre Celebration with took place at the Spectator Pub Downstairs just a stone’s throw from St Paul’s. Your presence made it what it was: a deep, moving and celebratory evening.

Sue Jennings speaking at the Ritual Theatre Celebration

If you didn’t make it these photographs will give you a flavour of what it was like to be there.

My deepest thanks to Dr Sue Jennings (without whom this work would not exist) who came all the way from Glastonbury and gave us such a fascinating talk and demonstration of the healing practices of the Senoi Temiar. We all could have listened to her for hours.

I cannot thank Debra Colkett enough, who has been my right hand man/woman throughout and has helped me to envision and create this event. She graced us too with her inspiring talk about the ritual theatre project she did with women with borderline personality disorder. All around the space hang the saris that Debra used to work with these women.

My gratitude too to Tom Morley and Dawn Ellis of Instant Team Work for the incredible way in which they opened the event and raised the spirits of everyone; to Thalia Valeta for making it back from Greece in spite of many challenges and for her interesting talk about “Metamyth”;  to Graham Swain who took the photographs and to Kathy Hill who filmed the event. My gratitude to Catherine Casolani and Thelma Sharma for their moving performance of the scene from King Lear demonstrating so superbly the healing power of ritual theatre. And thanks to the wonderful audience of therapists, actors, healers, clients and friends who endured the heat and participated so fully and enthusiastically.

It was my intention with this event not just to launch the book but to honour the spirit of ritual theatre – the spirit that is in ritual theatre – and a topic that is very close to my heart. I am grateful for all those that rallied round to support this event – which was truly a co-collaboration.


Tom Morley and Dawn Ellis invoking the celebratory spirit of Ritual Theatre through their fantastic drumming and chanting.

The audience getting into the spirit of it.

Sue Jennings demonstrating the healing practices of the Temiar. Many of us were effected by her account of the healing of her son by the Temiar shaman, of the bird who followed the boat taking her son to the hospital – and the doctor’s verification that her son had been very ill but was now on the mend and needed no further treatment. This was a testament to the power of tribal (and ritual) healing.


Here is a link to a video that was shot by Graham Swain (Graham took all these photos) of me introducing the topic of ritual theatre and explaining the ancient healing power of theatre.


There will be more video’s to follow of video shot by Kathy Hill of the other presenters. You may also be interested in a couple of interviews with me in the run-up to the launch of the book.
See interviews with Claire Schrader

Claire Schrader speaking about ritual theatre in Society

Debra Colkett speaking about working with clients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in a forensic setting

Thalia Valeta speaks about “Metamyth” and working with people with epilepsy


Catherine Casolani and Thelma Sharma after their performance

Enough talk. You cannot really grasp ritual theatre until you’ve experienced it for yourself. Catherine Casolani and Thelma Sharma performed an improvised scene from King Lear in which the blind Gloucester attempts to get help to throw himself off the cliffs of Dover, little knowing that his guide is his beloved son Edgar who he had banished. Edgar makes his father believe that he has fallen to his death and been reborn. At the end of the scene we decided to bring in the reconciliation between father and son, as Gloucester recognised.

Afterward Thelma and Catherine spoke about the power of ritual theatre as they had experienced it and the impact of creating and performing this scene on their personal lives.

The photographs below show Ritual Theatre Journey in which members of the audience moved around the space with their eyes  as “glass cobra”  connected to one another  – this was an expression of our original connection with Source in which we move through the world with little understanding of why we are here. Other audience members became “guardians”, making sure that the “glass cobra” came to no harm as it journeyed through the universe, guided by unseen hands.

Until the moment came in which the “glass cobra’ shattered into thousands of pieces and wandered aimlessly in the void, unable to connect with one another. This represented Separation which most experience at some time or other when we become disconnected from Spirit.  (In tribal societies this is not experienced in the same way as we do, because they educated from an early age to be connected with Spirit. See Chapter 4 in the Ritual Theatre book in which I talk about Maildoma Some’s work or even better read one of his books.)

The Journey was completed when it became possible for the “glass cobra”  to reform as an expression of the unity of the human spirit. In these photos you will see the glass cobra in its original formation to the sensitive drumming of Tom Morley, and the times when participants wandered in the void, concluding with our closing circle where participants shared their experience of the Journey which was profound and affirming for many.

Perhaps it should be mentioned that the books disappeared liked lightning – Sue, Debra, Thalia and I were all kept busy with signing! Thanks to all those who purchased a book and I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed writing it.

And especial thanks to Lisa and the staff at The Spectator who were so accommodating, helpful and made everyone feel so welcome.

Claire Schrader

photographs by Graham Swain


About Claire Schrader

Developed myth-a-drama, an approach bringing together the healing potential of myth and drama (ritual theatre). I offer my clients an opportunity to play, and inhabit the parts of ourselves that normally get locked away. The benefits: more emotional health, a way of clearing out the toxic emotional junk that builds up in the course of our lives, release stress, and reclaim the child within.


6 thoughts on “Celebrating Ritual Theatre – photographs from the book launch

  1. Attended the wonderful book launch for Claire . It was a truly inspirational evening and Claire whose Finding Your Voice group I attend has been a true inspiration to me . Her classes and courses are life changing they really are . Highly recommended Gary

    Posted by Gary Lawrence | July 13, 2012, 2:14 pm
  2. I had a great evening at the book launch and am enjoying reading the book. Having done various courses with Claire, I can whole heartedly say the methods and teachings work. The ability to creatively express my self, my feelings and my thoughts through ritual theatre come from a place within me that I never knew existed until I met Claire. For this I am truly grateful, as I continue to witness this positive healing transformation within myself. Thank you, Claire, and thank you to all the contributors at the launch for your inspiration, energy, drive, passion and the great work you are doing.

    Posted by Isabel Wray | July 15, 2012, 4:08 pm
  3. It was such a wonderful night, so magical, I loved it. I was fascinated by the speakers, Sue was soo interesting and I loved Debra’s energy and I got some insightful things come up from the exercise she had us do regarding favourite film etc. It was wonderful to see Claire doing what she does best and to see the response. I cannot wait to read the book and I really hope it reaches many, many, many people. Claire’s work is amazing and has so much potential transformation for everyone. It was also lovely to watch the powerful extract of King Lear, beautiful, strong and empowering work which resonated very deeply with me. I recommend everyone try one of Claire;s workshops – its life changing stuff. And most DEFINITELY read the book.
    Love Tahni

    Posted by Tahni Lamonde-Lyle | July 16, 2012, 11:37 am
  4. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I attended as a representative of Claire’s publisher, Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Although I have worked on a number of dramatherapy books, I have never participated in anything like Ritual Theatre. I expected to be completely out of my comfort zone, but the whole evening was so inclusive, warm and inspiring, that it actually felt very natural. My colleagues and I agreed that we had never been to a book launch that had brought the spirit of the book to life so effectively. Congratulations, Claire!

    Posted by Lisa Clark | July 18, 2012, 3:33 pm


  1. Pingback: Reflections from the celebration of ‘Ritual Theatre’ « JKP blog - Jessica Kingsley Publishers - July 19, 2012

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