Graham Lea: Theatre and veterans: Healing through art-making

This presentation shares an adapted version of Contact!Unload, maintaining the essence of the original play while highlighting key learnings from the research project.

This workshop performance shares an example of performed research, where researchers in counseling and applied theatre in Vancouver, Canada collaborated with military veterans to produce the play Contact!Unload. Developed through a series of theatre-based workshops, the play shares the difficult return that soldiers often experience postdeployment, juxtaposed with pathways towards recovery. This presentation shares an adapted version of Contact!Unload, maintaining the essence of the original play while highlighting key learnings from the research project. More specifically, the 30-minute workshop piece explores the kinds of impact this creative initiative in men’s health has had on participating veterans, audiences, researchers, and artists. We’ll demonstrate how the dissemination through performance extends the research process, keeping it alive and buoyant. The presentation provides a reflective distance from the initial production, and as importantly forefronts research  insights gathered over the three year initiative.

Graham W. Lea:
Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba, Canada. He is co-editor, with George Belliveau, of Researchbased Theatre: An Artistic Methodology (Intellect, 2016). He has been involved with numerous research-based theatre projects in a variety of capacities. His research has been recognized with awards including the Vanier Canada Doctoral Research Scholarship. He has presented and published on research-based theatre, theatre and additional language learning, Prince Edward Island theatre history, and Shakespeare in elementary classrooms. Outside of academia, Graham has worked on many theatre productions as an actor, director, musician, technician, playwright, or, most frequently, stage manager.

Chris Blois-Brooke (Founder & Director)
An Applied Theatre Practitioner with experience in international Drama Education, Community Theatre and Theatre for Development, Chris’ ongoing research interests centre around the documentation of Community Performance practice for the purposes of monitoring & evaluation, advocacy and training. Recent projects include facilitating participatory documentation of Community Circus, Dance, Theatre and Storytelling practice in Ethiopia, South Africa and Zambia, documenting large conferences around the world, as well as conducting Impact Assessment studies for organisations in the UK and USA. His other work includes Arts-based Curriculum Development consultancy, as well as authoring other Evaluative Research projects.