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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Twice a year the Enable US festival brings unmissable and intriguing pieces of new theatre and performance to the University of Sheffield's Drama Studio. During lockdown, it's joining up with comedy theatre company Ridiculusmus and the University of Salford's New Adelphi Theatre to present a virtual live-stream trilogy.

Across three sessions, the live-streams will explore the creative process behind Ridiculusmus's socially-engaged theatre trilogy Dialogue as the Embodiment of Love, offering an insight into their research with academics in clinical psychology.

Since 2014, Ridiculusmus has been transforming the experience of complex mental health issues into accessible performance. Dialogue as the Embodiment of Love is a creative interaction between theatre process, mental health therapies and audience experience. Over its three online sessions, the trilogy looks and listens closely to the most widespread mental health conditions of our age (psychosis, PTSD, and insurmountable bereavement) and offers ways in which we respond to and work with people processing traumatic experiences.

The trilogy will be live streamed across three afternoons (Friday–Sunday). Book in advance – you will then be sent a unique link by email before the event to access the stream. You only need to purchase one ticket to gain access to all three sessions.

Pay what you can. (As a guide, for those in full time employment, the theatre makers would appreciate £8–£15. They also understand people’s income can be precarious, hence the free and lower price options. All ticket sales supports future projects and artist fees.)

Ages 14+. See full content notes and warnings.

Dialogue as the Embodiment of Love programme:

Friday 22 May, 2pm–3:30pm
Session 1: The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland

The first piece, inspired by the radical treatment for psychosis Open Dialogue, depicts a family in crisis and aims to de-stigmatise and normalise psychosis. Simultaneous scenes are presented to split audiences before reversal and repetition. This generates a cognitive ‘chaos’ for audiences, gradually shifting towards recognition of the prevalence of mental crisis.

“There’s something electrifying, yet oddly reassuring about this experience. A startling piece of work that challenges how you listen and fathom what you hear” – The Guardian

Schedule:
– Welcome, instructions and introductions with Dr Richard Talbot
– Pre-recorded extracts of the piece with live commentary from Jon Haynes and David Woods
– Discussion with Jon Haynes, David Woods and Nick Putman, psychotherapist and certified Open Dialogue practitioner
– Audience Q&A

Saturday 23 May, 2pm–3:30pm
Session 2: Give Me Your Love

The second show in the trilogy explores post-traumatic stress and the therapeutic potential of controlled doses of MDMA. The production signals the mental health experience by unpacking the theatre-viewing experience: in a claustrophobic ‘flat’ one performer remains in a box, with legs only visible throughout the whole show, while only the arm of another performer reaches out to him through the narrow gap in a chained door.

Schedule:
– Welcome, instructions and introductions with Dr Richard Talbot
– Pre-recorded extracts of the piece with live commentary from Jon Haynes and David Woods
– Discussion with Jon Haynes, David Woods and Dr Ben Sessa. Dr Ben Sessa is a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist working in adult addiction services and with custodial detained young people in a secure adolescent setting. He is conducting the UK’s first clinical studies with MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD and alcohol dependence syndrome
– Audience Q&A

Sunday 24 May, 2pm–3:30pm
Session 3: Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!

In this final instalment, Ridiculusmus strive to reclaim humankind’s last taboo from its imminent eradication in a paper-fine portrait of a timeless trio: a love triangle cursed to eternal life without eternal youth, in an age where death and the forgotten art of grieving have been medicalised out of existence.

Schedule:
– Welcome, instructions and introductions with Dr Richard Talbot
– Pre-recorded extracts of the piece with live commentary from Jon Haynes and David Woods
– Discussion with Jon Haynes, David Woods and Peter Kinderman: professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, and an honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist with Mersey Care NHS Trust
– Audience Q&A

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