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How can autobiographical theatre aid in the de-stigmatisation of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

McMachan, Kirsty (2020) How can autobiographical theatre aid in the de-stigmatisation of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Masters thesis, University of Essex.

Kirsty McMachan MA Theatre Practice (Open Access).pdf

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects an estimated 1.2% of the UK.1 However, this estimate could be hugely inaccurate due to the lack of education young people and adults receive about the symptoms of the mental disorder, resulting in harmful ill-informed stigmas and embarrassment surrounding OCD. This means that thousands more people could be living with OCD, and are too anxious to talk about it due to the stigma, therefore not reaching out to seek professional help. This practice-as-research project aims to create a piece of theatre exploring various symptoms of OCD that participants feel they cannot speak out about, and refuting the stigmas that surround those living with OCD, thus encouraging audiences to reach out without fear of judgement or dismissal. In light of COVID-19 and the restrictions that lockdown imposes on traditional ways of theatre-making, another aim arises in which I will examine OCD through the lens of the home, and use “home” as both a stimulus for workshopping, and as a metaphor that exists throughout the piece in the form of “walls” that have been built around those with OCD as a way of hiding their symptoms. Contributing to the field of autobiographical theatre, I ask: “How can autobiographical theatre aid in the de-stigmatisation of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?” OCD is defined as a mental disorder concerned with persistent mental obsessive thoughts, and compulsive rituals performed to temporarily rid the individual from these thoughts. Autobiographical theatre is a form of theatre concerned with performing personal testimony on stage. Stigmas are beliefs about a certain marginalised individual that often results in shame and ostracisation. The methodology used was a series of devising workshops designed to provoke three participants with OCD to explore their own journey of living with the condition and the stigmas they experience in a creative manner. The personal testimonies revealed through the workshops were formed into a script, and the resulting short film, titled the walls of brick, is accompanied by both onymous interviews with participants about participating in the project, and anonymous feedback surveys. I conclude that the walls of brick’ s process from beginning to end constantly had the fight against stigma in mind, and continuously put the goal of amplifying the participant’s stories at the forefront of the project in order to educate and inform the audience about the lived experience with OCD.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2021 15:19
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2021 15:19

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