Acting Now Social Theatre Company in Cambridge UK

By putting social, political and civic causes at the forefront of their work and by devising creative drama projects that breathe life into the important social challenges facing participants and audiences alike Acting Now contributes to transform people lives through theatre.

Acting Now uses drama techniques to engage with people who are at risk of social exclusion. They work with learning disabled people, adults with mental health challenges, the homeless and young people, using theatre to reflect, explore and analyse the issues that affect them. The workshops provide a space where the participants can develop self-confidence, learn new skills and transform their own reality using theatre. They also develop high quality plays that are performed in the local community.

Their methodology includes the theatre of the oppressed created by Augusto Boal in 1971 built around a variety of games and techniques that allowed unskilled participants to act. First, the participants become aware of their challenging situation. Then they are encouraged to analyse the factors which have caused it. Finally, the group acts on what they believe to be a solution to their challenges.

Also, Lecoq and the Physical Theatre encourages group work, since it is believed to improve emotions and feelings. The idea of Lecoq’s pedagogy “is to work in a common voice, is to be at one and at the same time grounded in the truth of a living character, and in touch with a dimension which transcends human reality”. This pedagogy created in 1956 stimulates the body, imagination and creativity.

As a platform to empower people and fight against exclusion, Acting Now works with charities and local authorities. Strong partnerships have been forged with a number of community organisations such as Rowan, Cambridge Cancer Help Centre and Wintercomfort, so as to support their service users in their future endeavours, to help them gain confidence and unlock their potential.

Self-Confidence and the Actor's Inner Voice

The way we talk to ourselves has a big impact on our acting abilities. Self-talk is the name given to the internal dialogue we constantly have with ourselves. When our inner voice is negative, it increases pressure and potential for failure. As actors our inner voices greatly influence our performances.

If our self-talk is damaging and turns into a permanent critic, it will constantly impede our progress. However by increasing concentration we can calm the inner voice down. Yoga, meditation or simple breathing and visualising exercises will quickly show great results. The secret is to incorporate these practices in your daily life so they become part of your being.

Once a state of calm can be reached and maintain periodically, it is time to invite positive thoughts about yourself and your acting capabilities. To start with, remembering big or small achievements on stage or in the rehearsal room, perhaps a drama teacher’s praise or a friend’s encouraging words may inspire you to find your own reasons to feel confident in yourself as an actor.

Little by little you will notice changes. Firstly, less stress will make your enjoy much more the performing experience. Then, this new confidence will allow you to step into new territories and therefore develop your drama skills: you'll become a better actor. With repeated effort and increased awareness the inner voice will become gentle and will provide support and motivation when faced with the next obstacle.

Roundabout Drama Therapy Turning Lives Around

Roundabout is the largest and most successful charity of its kind in the UK. Their mission is to use drama therapy to provide psychological, educational and artistic benefits to a wide range of disadvantaged people throughout Greater London. They are the only organisation in the UK that offers tailor-made professional facilitated drama therapy sessions to such a wide range of audiences, from individuals to groups of all ages.

Drama therapy includes verbal and non-verbal practices. It makes use of a wide range of theatrical and dramatic techniques, such as story-telling, story-making, enactment, improvisation, role-play, mime, puppetry, movement, music and voice work.

The general aims of Roundabout drama therapy sessions include: building trusting relationships, expressing and exploring feelings, developing social interaction skills, developing artistic and creative skills, improving self-image and self-confidence, working with the imagination and having fun!

Roundabout therapists regularly present their clinical work and research to conferences both throughout the UK and internationally. The dram therapists are registered with the Health and Care Profession Council (HCPC).They work according to the British Association of Drama Therapists' Code of Ethical Practise.