Here at Moving Pieces, we’ve recently been lucky enough to host two student placements to help us deliver and promote our busy programme and give them an insight to the workings of a professional theatre company.
The students we have with us at the moment are Nieta, a drama and film undergraduate in her third year at Kingston University, and Jingyu who is studying for an MSc at Queen Mary University of London in Creative Arts and Mental Health.
Nieta has a keen interest in applied theatre and is focused on learning about the practicalities of running workshops in the applied theatre sector as well as developing her own working process inspired by our methodology. Jingyu is interested in mind-body-spirit related activities, whilst being a passionate lover of numerology and Vedic astrology.
They both took part in our recent workshop on Love & Loss which focused on how creativity and the performing arts can be used to better manage emotions during grief.
This is what they said about their experience.
Q1. Could you summarise what you learnt during the course of our Love & Loss weekend?
Nieta: Over the course of the weekend we started with relationship-building exercises, focusing on the physical rather than verbal expressions of shared experiences in relation to Love & Loss. We participated in exercises such as mirroring, slow flow, free fall writing and engaged in various imagined scenarios, though there was no emphasis on “performing” or “acting”, simply showing our experience. We were encouraged to stay true to our own personal experience and only go as far as we felt comfortable going. Ultimately, this lead to a final group presentation which was witnessed by the group.
Jingyu: The two-day workshop included different kinds of body-based exercises and practices, through which I experienced grief in various way by working with the unconscious materials. We also used painting, poetry and storytelling to fully explore the Love & Loss theme. It was my first time working with a group to explore grief and loss.
Q2. What are the key things that you learnt or took away from this experience?
Nieta: That suppressing emotion is exhausting! And that there isn’t one acceptable way to experience grief. It’s ok to be present and experience what you’re feeling.
Jingyu: It’s definitely the positive attitude I learned towards death/loss. We don’t need to be stuck in grief forever. This doesn’t mean avoiding painful feelings. If we allow ourselves to let go of the part that has been locked inside our bodies, we may discover a totally different outlook.
Q3. Who would you recommend the workshop to and why?
Nieta: I would certainly recommend the workshop to individuals looking to develop a broader vocabulary of expression around their own grief. To those who find it difficult to share their grief in their day-to-day lives. But also to interested practitioners, curious about Moving Pieces’ methodology.
Jingyu: People who have experienced grief and loss in life, and that can mean very different things to everyone. If you’re concerned that you haven’ ever fully got through an experience related to loss, this workshop is designed for you. It’s also helpful for people working in theatre or mental healthcare to enhance knowledge on sensitively dealing with such difficult subjects.
Q4. What do you think Moving Pieces offers that is unique? Why does this area of expertise interest you and why do you think it is valuable?
Nieta: Moving Pieces is unique in the sense that their methodology is grounded in both psychotherapy and performance practices. Rarely is such a service offered, in relation to both mental health and performance, where the facilitators are specialists in both areas.
Jingyu: The most valuable thing for me is that Moving Pieces provide creative and embodied ways as an integration of mind and body. Because of their background in both physical theatre and arts/somatic psychotherapy, the combination of their experiences is really unique.
Q5. In the Stories from the Body course that you’ve also been taking part in, could you tell us about how you’re developing a particular story and what your experience has been so far?
Nieta: So far, my personal story on this course has developed in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I assumed I would be consciously aware on some level of what comes to light, but actually, some revelations have been surprising! I take this as being positive, as I feel during the sessions I am honing in and beginning to appreciate ways of managing, understanding and caring for myself in a way that isn’t often possible in our day-to-day lives. The benefit is, once you become aware of the various ways you can check in and learn to self-regulate, the techniques become available to you and you can try to incorporate them into your everyday life. They also don’t seem like a chore, because they are fun or rewarding in some way.
Jingyu: At first, Stories from the Body appears to be all about mask-making and creating your own story along the way, but it’s actually much more than that. Making a mask is a tool for us to explore what we have been through and stored in our body, and by using a mask my body is revealed in a different way. We can find something behind the scenes, which can be used to more effectively reflect on our journeys.
Q6. How have you benefited from participating?
Nieta: I’ve certainly benefited in terms of my wellbeing. I think I’ve become more self-aware, in an accepting sense but also in a more practically equipped sense. I’ve also benefited in terms of my experience, better understanding facilitation and the more intangible elements of workshops such as group dynamics, and creating the right environment to work collectively.
Jingyu: Personally, I particularly like the “slow flow” exercise. It really helps me to slow down and stay in the moment. It’s a skill I can definitely use as a meditative moving method.
Q7. How do you feel after taking part in the sessions?
Nieta: I generally feel quite relaxed after sessions. The sessions are well paced and you leave feeling balanced.
Jingyu Wu: The most relaxing moment for me in a week is during Moving Pieces’ workshops!
Our next Love & Loss creative workshops are on 14 & 15 July.
Venue: The Classrooms, 60 Weston St, SE1 3QJ
Cost: £130 (£95 student/unwaged)
Book your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org