Applying self care: strategies for practitioners

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Applied theatre is an immensely rewarding field in which to work, and its practitioners make significant positive impacts in the lives of participants, observers, and community members. However, practitioners are also frequently confronted with conflicts and difficulties arising directly from the environments in which they work. Many theatre makers and facilitators note the heavy emotional toll that the particular challenges accompanying theatre for social change can take on their own mental health, leading to fatigue and burnout. This is exacerbated when working in underfunded and under resourced environments as well as sites with significant rules and regulations (i.e. prisons, schools, healthcare facilities). As the 2019 ASTWG call invites TaPRA members of the community to examine how we might examine “the prologue as opening: what do we need to know before the work starts/how do we prepare for practice,” this paper shares strategies for self care from an international network of applied and social theatre practitioners collected through two roundtables at the 2019 conferences of the American Alliance for Theatre & Education and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. This paper will discuss ways through which practitioners of applied and community based theatre have understood the self care challenges that arose from work in high impact and high stress environments including prisons in Arizona and New York, schools in conflict zones in Pakistan and the West Bank, therapeutic forums for military veterans in the US and the UK, a women’s shelter in the south of England, and underfunded public schools in Texas. Following the paper, audience members will be invited to join in a discussion about strategies for self care, with the goal of creating an ongoing community forum through TaPRA/ASTWG for sharing best practices that will hopefully continue long past the conference in Exeter.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2019
EventAnnual Conference of the Theatre and Performance Research Association - University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sept 20196 Sept 2019


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the Theatre and Performance Research Association
Abbreviated titleTaPRA
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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