website © Random Acts Theatre Company 2016
What participants have said about our workshops -
Christmas week at Cortijo Romero
with Tig and Helen
The setting was wonderful, with brilliant winter sunshine lighting up the gardens of Cortijo Romero and the landscape of orange and olive groves beyond. But the heart of the holiday was inside, in the big meeting room warmed and lit by a huge log fire.
Here we gathered in a circle twice a day for sessions of creative 'play': painting, movement, and, eventually, exercises in various forms of 'playback theatre'. It was fun, scary, exciting, and sometimes moving. For me personally it felt possible to stay with the group in spite of some occasionally tricky dynamics outside of the workshops, because of the safety provided within them by our facilitators' firm and professional leadership. Tig's dynamic edge and Helen's lovely warmth complemented each other perfectly, and made for a fuller steadier holding than I think would have been possible with a single leader. The playback work took me back into some of the sheer creative wildness of my primary school days, when I was lucky enough to have an excellent teacher who encouraged imaginative play. How vividly we were all possessed by the stories we found ourselves enacting! I'll never forget seeing a tall man skipping through the (invisible) forest sucking an (imaginary) lollypop as 'Little Red Riding Hood', or the 'mouse' that stole the scene as she scurried around squeaking among the more familiar cast of 'Cinderella'. Or the thrill of playing a murder victim, and then a sinister crescent moon in our 'Horror Movie'. Or, come to that, having innocently volunteered to be a member of a small group miming one of the Seven Deadly Sins, finding myself obliged to embody 'Lust' in front of an (hysterical) audience!
All fantastic fun. But gradually I began to see that Playback can have a powerfully therapeutic effect as well. Many of the exercises involved learning how to stay intuitively 'tuned in' to the others in a group of players, while remaining in touch with one's own creative urges. For me this brought together two things which I tend to experience as opposites; it was healing to find that interaction could enhance my personal expressiveness, and, conversely, that my impulses could contribute to the group's collective play. In one lovely exercise, an individual would suggest an 'idea' ('let's all make horrible faces') and everyone else would cry 'yes, let's', like wildly enthusiastic children flocking together in a playground. It showed me how much dreary negativity we carry around with us most of the time.
Most moving of all were the mimes done by small groups to reflect an individual's offered three-
Paula Day, workshop participant at Cortijo Romero
I just wanted to do something different for Christmas so I thought Spain with a little art and dance would be pleasant and relaxing. I had no great expectations.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself working with others and becoming "A bowl of porridge"!
Magically I found myself singing, dancing, improvising, creating art and most important of all reflecting the experience of myself and others in the group.
Tig and Helen ensured a consistently safe group space-
Thank you Tig and Helen.
So… what promised to be a pleasant week became a profound experience, challenged me gently and deeply, touched the core of my being, made me laugh and is continuing to make me reflect on my present!
I look forward to seeing a performance and doing a residential!
Mary Conaghan, workshop participant at Cortijo Romero. Mary works as a Bereavement Counsellor at a Hospice in Dublin
Taking time out from a busy professional life it was a joy to be able to 'play' over Christmas with Tig and Helen in a real rather than digital world. It's a long time since I cut out paper to create a piece of art, and joined with others in short drama exercises and I loved it. For me it was the ultimate escape from the stresses and demands of my various life roles and the need to be a responsible adult. I was astonished how easy it was to create a fairy kingdom or transform myself into a crying baby, a tree in little Red Riding Hood's forest and even a yeti! It's play for grown ups. Tig skilfully coaxed us to give it a try assuring us we couldn't be wrong! In a world of increasing accountability dogged by rules and audit trails how refreshing is that! So the times I felt slightly daunted were quickly followed by the thrill of doing. The activities also gave me new perspectives on my life. We did a group movement exercise which was great fun in itself but also led me to reflect on the management of various change initiatives at work. I'm still using the metaphor from that experience to plan my forward strategy. This holiday really restored me as it allowed me to experience different ways of being. I felt safe as I trusted the skill, values, intentions and integrity of the facilitators. It was wonderful not to be in charge and to trust the people who were! I tell others the more you engage the more you get out of something. I was challenged to live my words and the rewards were rich.
Chrissy, workshop participant at Cortijo Romero
A wonderful week of creativity with theatre, dancing and painting that opens your eyes, mind and heart. We played and laughed. We were thoughtful and sometimes cried, but we always felt safe and supported by Tig and Helen.
Di, workshop participant at Cortijo Romero
I loved the course with Tig and Helen at Cortijo Romero at Christmas 2011. I had the time of my life but I also found it very moving and engaging, expanding and courage giving. Tig and Helen have wonderful complementary skills that created a very warm, safe space and some real work happened along with the fun.
It was great to spend a week doing what I love to do in great company.
Aideen, workshop participant at Cortijo Romero
It was a great pleasure to be a part of the residential weekend. I felt very much in touch with my creativity; I enjoyed both the playful and the challenging aspects of Playback Theatre. I felt very safe and well held in the group and I was able to share much deeper parts of myself. I thought the feedback I had throughout was very helpful-
A weekend residential held at Cardfields Environmental Centre in Essex
Muge Erdogmus, Dramatherapist
I want to say a big thank you for a brilliant weekend, so much happened between people, creatively and on a personal level. As I walked home I felt really sound in myself, like I'd been spinning and had found a deep place of connection. Which felt fantastic. I think this was because the weekend allowed for very personal work, challenging us in a way to see what we wanted to tell, to be witness to, to have witnessed. When you do this using imagination and spontaneity all sorts of things happen, and it changes you.
Pam Marshall, Drama Therapist
Having a whole weekend to concentrate on playback felt like a real luxury. Tig created an amazing environment of safety and creativity and the whole company provided a supportive atmosphere where we could all play, laugh, learn and reflect together. A beautiful and inspiring weekend.
Estelle Buckridge, Freelance Drama Facilitator
The following quotes are from a day's workshop with students on the MA in Applied Drama course at Goldsmiths, University of London
Being a person that is usually shy and timid, this workshop helped me to be BRAVE and take complete joy in the moments where you have NO IDEA what's going to happen! A great experience and lesson for life.
A great opportunity to come together as a group and realise we have similar thoughts and feelings on different subjects. Thank you! I felt we were close as a group already but it's always refreshing to feel united in different ways.
Our training sessions today brought a deeper sense of trust and solidarity to our group. I realized that play does not need to stop when childhood does! To play is to live and to live in the present. Tig is consistently encouraging and an incredible listener! Thank you.
Thanks for the opportunity to learn, share, discover and just be myself!
Roberta Luchini Boschi
Ahh! Ahh! Ahh! A really good chance to express feelings and disappointment without judgment.
What a great opportunity to "play". This, for me, is the essence of what community performance is about.
I enjoyed the workshop so much! I feel though that there is a lot more to learn about Playback Theatre! I hope we will be given the opportunity to have you again here!
Today has been amazing. Loved being able to play! Lots of questions asked; lots of questions answered! Thank you Tig!
It has been very special to be in the space with others willing to share and be open to connecting with each other. Thanks.
Natalie, General Practioner
A great opportunity to explore creatively in a relaxed way. Really interesting to see what can come out of such simple games. Thank you! I feel inspired.
Collaborative, interactive and Fun, many thanks.
Tig Land came in like a tornado from across the sea and wiped out any pretense that our troupe here in America was holding on to. Her presence was our present. We'd never seen anything like it before and doubt that we will again -
Marcy Dubova, Specialist in Group Counselling and Process, Bay Area Playback Theatre
Being part of a 'Playback' workshop is like going on a creative journey to an unknown destination. It's full of surprises, taking you to places you may have never seen in yourself before. Frequented by much laughter, innovative acting, soulful insights, and emotive moments you travel through the mystery and marvel of life's stories in a very safe environment of play and 'yes'. So whether you participate in a workshop or watch a performance 'Playback' has to be on the 'One of the 10 best things to do in your life before you leave this planet'.
Annie Bassey, Therapeutic Massage Therapist
Having seen a Random Acts performance I was hooked. The audiences stories were skilfully 'played back', and ranged from moving to downright hilarious and everything in between, a sheer delight.
I loved it so much, I wanted to do it myself and have since attended two weekend workshops with the company. What a great experience, to be able to let go and play, and to try on different ways of being in a fun and supportive environment. Tig Land is a skilled facilitator who manages to bring out parts of you you had forgotten! A real 'blow the cobwebs away' experience. If you want to rediscover your zest for life, this is an absolute must. Oh, and fab food served to boot!
Moira Nangle, Director of Organisation Development Virgin Atlantic Airways
What a delight to spend a weekend beginning to learn what Playback is all about with Tig Land and the Random Acts players. We were gently led to experience the skills required to perform from a place of 'not knowing' and to trust ourselves and the group. We had fun, learned, developed personally, met interesting people and discovered our own spontaneity . The integrity of the Playback process, and congruence of Tig's facilitation are irresistible, and we intend to do more with Random Acts in the future. Highly recommended!
Penny Tompkins and James Lawley, authors of "Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling", UKCP registered Psychotherapists
My son and I attended a Random Acts weekend workshop on the recommendation of a friend. We had never seen a Playback performance, so when we arrived on Friday evening we had no idea what to expect from the weekend, except that it would be fun and we would learn something. And it was and we did…
Tig and her team created a welcoming -
We had lots of fun, we got to know people in the group incredibly well in less than 48 hours, we surprised ourselves with our ability to improvise -
Marian Way, Clean Language & Symbolic Modelling Trainer/Coach
My journey of going backwards and coming forward using Playback Theatre.
I left my house on Friday the 28th of April with a packed case, feeling scared and searching for an obstacle to prevent me from going on this journey to what seemed like the unknown. "Where am I going? what type of people will be there?, what will I be doing there? What is Tig like? why am I doing this?, and what mask will I wear?," questions I could only answer on this journey.
Playback arrived in my life at the most appropriate time, a time when I felt like I was in a bubble that would not burst I could see clearly through the bubble but it just wouldn't burst, I was afraid that if I burst this bubble there was no going back, I cannot rebuild it again.
Being an artiste I know that I have missed opportunities through disbelief and fear in myself, fear of making a mistake, fear of standing out too much and fear of being judged. Therefore the bigger the situation the smaller I made myself become. I use past tense because this weekend I burst the bubble, and it's ok. This weekend I made a strong connection with people from all walks of life, most I feel very different to mine, most importantly I connected with myself, and it was real on every level. I felt extremely safe, accepted, appreciated and most of all I felt light in weight and free. Tig delivered a programme that was at times very emotional, physical and mentally taxing, and she had the most care and generosity in doing so. And all we did was play. It's an experience that is hard to put into words, and one I will never forget Playback has taught me that my life is my autobiography and only I can create the story, and that I can only be lost if I choose not to be found.
I left the centre on Monday 1st May with a packed case feeling free, invigorated and almost as if I've been reborn and I have another chance. I am excited and buzzing. AND!! I have answered the questions. I went to a safe a calm haven I met normal people… I played… Tig is a big heart Angel and she has been sent here to do this work… I'm doing this because I can…The mask? what mask?
Tracey Daley, Education Assistant, Clean Break
Until this weekend I never quite appreciated how purposeful Playback's work is. To take someone's personal story and be the mirror that reflects it back to them is precious indeed.
I came on the course for inspiration. I got it. Thank you. It was wonderful to play with others in a safe, creative, and fun way.
Tig created an environment in which I felt safe. I was particularly thankful for her sensitivity in making sure that the group felt at ease and in tune with one another.
Fun! The whole weekend was fun and the memory of talking, singing and laughing around the camp-
So thank you. What a wonderful weekend it was!
Carol Thompson, Trainer in Laughter and Play to Promote Health
This weekend was so much more than I had expected. Tig's sensitive facilitation enabled me to step way outside my comfort zone and perform in a way I never believed possible. I left with an incredible sense of achievement and having had a huge amount of fun! Can't wait for the next one!
Dena Robertson, Purchasing Manager
The playback residential workshop, Training the Trainers, was an eye opener. Getting involved and taking risks guided me full flow into the fun and fear of the moment. It provided me with an exhilarating experience that made me glow for a good week after. To be part of a moment's unique creativity was a gift indeed. Not only did I learn many tools for my dramatherapy work but also by submerging myself into the medium of Playback, I learnt many things about myself too. Thank you Tig for holding and guiding us in this realm!
Katie Herdman, Registered Creative Arts Therapist
The weekend encouraged me to step beyond the comfort zone in which I live my daily life. This happened naturally -
Richard Oliver, Psychodrama Trainee
Cardfields residential field centre, Essex is set in the most idyllic location. The big rambling grounds are beautifully kept and the house itself is spotless. The course was not quite as I had imagined (I thought it was role play!!!) so I had no idea that 2 days playing and listening could be so much fun and so inspirational. Tig facilitated the improvisation workshop with great care, security and sensitivity allowing us to play, listen and share stories in a way I would never have thought possible. The exercises and games led beautifully from one activity to another and while I was way out of my comfort zone I felt really liberated and powerful. The other members of the course were a joy to work with and I don't think I have ever gained so much from a course ever
The weekend was a real turning point for me on many levels and I don't think I would have been able to have moved on in such a positive way if I hadn't attended. Some things are just meant to be in life and I cannot say how grateful I am for having had the opportunity to do so. The course is 'not therapy but it is therapeutic' and I gained skills in listening, intuition and mostly wicked fun. Just perfect!
Fran Cooke, Lecturer in Performing Arts
Playback is like a playground for grown-
Phil Swallow, Trainer, in Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling
A week of learning Playback was like a cool breeze on a hot day in Central London. The whole experience gave me space to breathe, grow and get in touch with my own real stories… I have taken away many of the tools I learnt into my everyday work… to do Playback or not to do Playback? Don't question it, just do it…
Debby Rothenberg, Drama, Movement and Massage Therapist M.A., Woodbourne Priory Hospital
'The Art of Being Spontaneous' was a week-
Jules Mann, NLP Practitioner & Hypnotherapist
Having the chance to step into the world of Playback on a five day residential course provided me with real insight into myself and others. It's not just about playing games and laughing until your stomach hurts, but it teaches you how to be truly creative, spontaneous and alive. The whole experience raised my personal awareness in a way that I have not been able to access before. I would certainly say that Playback refreshes the parts that other theatre cannot reach!
Helen Rogerson, Practising Artist and Teacher
When I chose to do this course, I thought I'd just be adding another theatre style to the list of those I'd 'done'. Far more than this, Playback has enabled me to let go and find a kind of honesty at the heart of performance. It has spilt over into the rest of my life, making me want to commit fully to everyday activities. It is both theatrical and real, if that can be imagined. Actually, don't imagine it, go and see a performance as soon as you can!
Fiona Watson, Clean Break Student
Working with Tig on a Playback evening run for the Sesame Institute for Drama and Movement Therapy, gave participants the chance to play and enjoy exercises in a very exciting but safely held space. Several people commented on the similarity between Tig's way of facilitating Playback and the non confronting style which Sesame offers as a therapeutic resource.
Mary Smail, Company Director Sesame Institute for Drama and Movement Therapy and UKCP registered psychotherapist
The Playback workshop run by Random Acts was the best thing I have done for ages. I had a great time and learnt lots. At the end, I felt that I had had that fantastic experience of being part of a creative team. It wasn't pressured or at all scary. The Random Acts team were lovely, making all of the participants feel as if they belonged. The work was fun, inspiring and exciting, Tig and her team created a really safe space and we were all encouraged to really go for it, which we all did. It was fantastic and the best Saturday afternoon I've had for a long time! If you have the opportunity to do this, jump!
Colin Austin, Secondary School Head of Drama
Discovered I am more than a body and remembered I had a self!
Rebecca Stewart, Clean Break Student and Mental Health Advocate
In the safe, clear space lovingly created over several days, I found myself able to drop, moment by moment the "mask" of everyday encounters and the "mask" of a "trained" actor. I became increasingly awake to my body, and my emotions as they occurred…I felt free to dive into the heart of play with great companions.
Buky Lardner, Voice-
"Tending the Garden of Your Heart" -
with Tig Land and Random Acts
On a very damp October weekend I made my way from Newcastle upon Tyne, via London, to the soggy wilds of Essex, to join Random Acts and a handful of others for two days of Playback Theatre. I was drawn to the title of the residential (Tending the garden of your heart) for personal reasons, and as a long time Playback practitioner, I was keen to spend time working with a different group. I was also a little dubious … would I fit in? Would I be under pressure to participate? Would I feel trapped in this remote location where even my phone was cut off?
My fears were not realised. The warm welcome on arrival, the reassuring balance of ground rules and flexibility, the positive and playful atmosphere, the obvious skill of the leader, actors and musician, the amazing location; all these elements were combined expertly to create a safe place for relaxation, experimentation, learning and growth. Oh and yes, the food. Did I mention the food? It was in itself a reason to plot my return some day. My only complaint? That Essex is not nearer to Newcastle…
Steve Nash, Independent Consultant in Health and Social Care
Being mum to a small child I haven't made time for myself for a while so I was excited to hear about the workshop and thought it is time to get back out there. Well after a weekend of thrilling work, vibrant people and a wonderful atmosphere I felt like my mind and body had been thrown into a washing machine given a good wash and spin and emerged brighter and cleaner. I love the theatre but knew little about playback and as I hoped the residential proved exciting, challenging and took me to areas of theatre I had not explored before.
Sandra Mills, Drama Practitioner
After a few nerves at the start the work/fun begins! The work is challenging in a supportive environment with lots of exercises, stories and opportunities to get the creative juices flowing. I particularly liked the use of music at times, learning about the different forms used in playback and the opportunity to give and receive feedback. Great food to keep the energy up and although the weekend flies by I really felt like I had physically and mentally flexed some muscles.
Aislinn Mangan, workshop participant
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