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Theatre for Change is an innovative theatre workshop program for South Australian military members and emergency service personnel.

After the first successful program in 2019, Military and Emergency Services Health Australia once again supported this initiative for 2021, with the State Theatre Company of South Australia and the Office for Ageing Well.

Theatre for Change gives participants the opportunity to explore a range of theatrical pathways including acting or performance, scriptwriting, set, costume, lighting and sound design, production and technical elements in a safe and supported environment.

Inspired by the work of respected Post-Traumatic Stress researcher and Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, the program provides a creative outlet that gives participants an opportunity to express themselves in alternative ways when they might find communicating difficult, explore different personas and modes of behaviour, reduce isolation, increase social networks and improve self-esteem.

The program is developed and delivered by Jo Stone and Paolo Castro, two professional theatre artists with extensive experience in acting, directing and devising professional theatre productions plus film and television productions. The primary goal of Theatre for Change is for participants to have fun, increase social connections and enjoy learning more about the theatre and themselves. Previous participant and veteran Dr Sharon Mascall-Dare will be a peer leader to support participants.

By tapping into their creativity, those taking part will benefit in a variety of ways:

•    Reducing isolation and feelings of anxiety
•    Allowing self-expression in alternative ways when communication might be challenging
•    Developing social skills and enhancing relationships
•    Improving self-esteem
•    Opening up new neural pathways through heightened creativity
•    Using organisational skills in a new arena.

This program has been run for 2021, with no dates currently available for 2022. If you are interested in the Theatre for Change program, please email Ella Price at [email protected] or call (08) 7002 0880 for more information.

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