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.
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.
The audience getting into the spirit of it.
DR SUE JENNINGS AND THE HEALING PRACTICES OF THE TEMIAR SENOI
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.
CLAIRE, DEBRA AND THAILIA SPEAK ABOUT THEIR CHAPTERS IN THE BOOK
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
RITUAL THEATRE 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.
RITUAL THEATRE JOURNEY
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.
photographs by Graham Swain