Rose Bruford Students and The Dragon Cafe
Rose Bruford students perform with patrons of the Dragon Cafe

In January 2016  the company acted as guest artists at the Dragon Café, a community resource for mental health service users, to curate and deliver activities throughout the month.  This gave us the opportunity to deliver and develop work every Monday at the Dragon Café in tandem with our work at Rose Bruford College, teaching verbatim theatre techniques to first year actor musician students from Tuesday to Fridays.

The residency was planned with ReCreate Psychiatry, with volunteers from the Dragon Café and with the Mental Fight Club to ensure that our intentions were realistic.

Each week we delivered a workshop which came under the umbrella title of “Theatre from Life” offering an experiential window into the theatre methodology used by Playing ON for Dragon Café patrons.

We used our residency at the Dragon Café as an opportunity to create both material for our later scripted play and to bring the Rose Bruford students into direct engagement with the user group whom they were representing as part of their devised verbatim theatre piece. On January 25th, they visited the Dragon Café to perform musical cabaret for the patrons (see photo) and share work in progress scenes for their devised piece.

Subsequently we set up a weekly drop-in drama group for mental well being at the Albany Theatre, which has been very successful and attended by many patrons of the Dragon Café.  As a result of its success we are now working in partnership with the Albany to ensure that this becomes a permanent resource