Using creative arts to transform lives

drama - case study 3

Voice for the Voiceless was a series of drama and arts workshops at the Reading Churches Women’s Centre aimed at helping women who feel vulnerable to express their needs and to boost their personal confidence. They explored the role of women in society throughout the ages using dance, costumes, writing, video and drama. And, in the process, they discovered and increased their creative skills.

Women who suffered depression, abuse, disability, psychological problems and loneliness were led in the drama workshops by Jane Turner.

Jane said “these women are in need of a voice; they need help to express themselves. The workshops allowed them to see what is possible and gave them a chance to speak, growing in confidence and proving their abilities despite their problems”. The result, she said, is that these women “now see themselves in new eyes”. Sarah de Nordwall led creative writing workshops in which Chrissie produced a beautiful Christmas Story about an Angel who found her role.

Joan (not her real name), now in her 70’s, has had mental health problems which meant she felt unable to leave her house for a whole year. She joined the Voice for the Voiceless workshops. When she left school at 14 a teacher told her that she would never make much of herself. She told us “I suppose it’s right; I have not made anything of myself”. At the start of the workshops she described how that school teacher’s words meant she had always felt she lived under that curse, spoken over her. But, by the end of the workshops, she came to the realisation that she did not have to live under that labelling. In fact, Joan is a natural story teller. She appears on the video which was produced during the workshops. She improvised and told stories and she now has more confidence in social situations. Now, she is willing to give voice to her needs and requirements. She’s involved in the pantomime “Snow White” to be staged by the women’s group. Joan is collecting the props for the production. Joan now has a Voice for the Voiceless.

Anne (not her real name) uses a wheelchair because of her disability. She draws pictures to tell her stories. Anne came to the Voice for the Voiceless project and enjoyed dressing up in the costumes and speaking the lines portraying women throughout the ages. She will play the part of The Mirror in the group’s pantomime “Snow White”. She has grown in confidence, she feels part of the group and continues with her writing. Anne now has a Voice for the Voiceless.

Felicity (not her real name) also benefitted from the Voice to the Voiceless workshops. She has suffered mental health problems; she started a degree course but gave it up. When she first joined the workshops she was very shy and reluctant to join in so a Voice to the Voiceless tutor, Jan Burrell, encouraged her to try. She joined the writing group at the project and produced a story and a piece of writing. But she was still quite nervous until she joined in with the drama workshops in which she was enabled to express her anger. This has helped her with her counselling and she is now opening up and growing in confidence. She is now studying on a writing course and benefitting from continued mentoring with her creative work. Felicity now has a Voice for the Voiceless.

Alison (not her real name) volunteered to help with the Voice to the Voiceless project and has discovered that she also benefitted from it herself. Normally, she would not go near this sort of art and drama but she found that it increased her confidence. Alison is a librarian and the project helped her with her interpersonal skills. Alison now has a Voice for the Voiceless.

Here are some of the comments made by the women who took part in the Voice for the Voiceless project……

I surely enjoyed it”.

“It was inspiring”

“It was lovely to see all the talent blossoming”

“What a lot of amazing talent was discovered over the weeks and months of expert and brilliant coaching”

“A great confidence booster”.

Women's Centre project “Voice for the Voiceless”

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