The show must go online!
Having initially faced cancellation due to lockdown, the University's Spring Enable US Festival is back this weekend – ‘live’ and online. The Performance Venues Team have worked hard to keep the Festival going by making the headline programme available digitally through a new collaboration with the University of Salford.
Audiences will still be able to enjoy an acclaimed trilogy of socially engaged work by one of Britain’s flagship comedy theatre companies, Ridiculusmus. Each part of the Dialogue as the Embodiment of Love virtual trilogy will take place online daily from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 May.
This imaginative comic trilogy looks closely at the widespread mental health conditions of our age (psychosis, PTSD and insurmountable bereavement) and offers ways in which we respond to people processing traumatic experiences. The trilogy is perfectly timed to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.
This is a must for anyone interested in mental health research, imaginative comedy writing and the deft deployment of the comic form in contemporary theatre. The performances will be presented alongside specially curated talks and discussions where Ridiculusmus will offer an insight into their research with academics in clinical psychology, and their creative process.
Those taking part in the discussion are: Nick Putman, psychotherapist and certified Open Dialogue practitioner; Dr Ben Sessa, senior research fellow at Bristol, Cardiff and Imperial College London Universities, where he is conducting the UK’s first clinical studies with MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD and alcohol dependence syndrome; and, Peter Kinderman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, and an honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist with Mersey Care NHS Trust.
Since 2014, Ridiculusmus has been specialising in transforming the experience of complex mental health issues into accessible performance. This work has taken the form of a trilogy - 'Dialogue as the Embodiment of Love' - aimed at a creative interaction between theatre process, mental health therapies and audience experience. Presented as a progressive portrait of dialogically driven alternatives to a medicated silo, 'Dialogue as the Embodiment of Love' shares and over-shares a way of being that remains tantalisingly beyond us.
There was another reason the team were so keen to ensure that the Trilogy went ahead, David Woods and Jon Haynes the two artists behind Ridiculusmus are alumni of The University of Sheffield. The duo met on the English Literature with Drama degree. Jon was a contemporary of Stephen Daldry, Linda Smith and Eddie Izzard, and acted in plays with the first two in the Drama Studio and in the English Literature Theatre Workshop.
Now in its fourth year, the Enable US Festival is a twice-yearly programme of live performance and artistic engagement at the Drama Studio each Spring and Autumn. The Festival is part of the wider Enable US Project which provides a platform within The University of Sheffield Performance Venues for creative expression, exploration, development and debate.
Public engagement and student experience are two of the Project’s cornerstones - attracting new audiences to the Drama Studio to enjoy thought-provoking theatre as well providing access for workshops, training and development in the future.
Enable US is delivered by the Performance Venues Team and receives generous funding from Arts Council England (ACE) to support its artistic programme and audience development work.
Tickets are offered on a pay what you can basis. This is an honesty box for the theatre with all sales going to support future projects and artist fees.