Therapeutic services in music and drama produce Our World. By Renée Dunk
people would dispute the value of culture in our lives. But when you're
an adult with developmental disabilities, the importance of culture may
mean even more when carving out your place in the world.
Lindsay Dauossis. She's a participant in Concordia's Centre for the Arts
in Human Development (CAHD) group program, which offers therapeutic
services designed to improve the overall quality of life of adults with
developmental disabilities. These services are provided in the form of
art, drama, music and dance/movement therapy.
Dauossis loves singing and dancing, and says she's already been in at least three or four plays. Our World: A musical ethnodram
a new play that was presented by the CAHD in June 2012, was special
because it was the first time she was asked to sing a solo. The song she
performed is about exploring heritage, which encouraged her to learn
more about her own cultural background - her grandfather was born in
"We sometimes celebrate our culture at home," she says. "But now I know more."
Lenore Vosberg, CAHD's executive director, says Our World
message is that multiculturalism and diversity should be explored and
celebrated. "This is an incredible and inspiring show about respecting
one another's backgrounds," she says.Our World
10th production, was written by Stephen Snow, an associate professor in
drama therapy, in conjunction with the cast, and is co-directed with
drama therapy graduate student Simon Driver. Based on the lives of
program participants, Our World
explores the importance of culture in each actor's life and features both original songs and adaptations of pop tunes.
each chose what resonated most to them, and Stephen and Shelley [Snow,
the show's musical director] took it from there," explains Vosberg. "The
actors will also be performing a traditional Ukrainian dance and the
Horah to honour their backgrounds."
research at Concordia focuses on performance ethnography, or theatrical
representations of what a researcher discovers through
participant-observer fieldwork. Writing and producing ethnodramas
involves participants, or "informants", re-creating their personal
experiences to express their feelings and to foster a better
understanding of their lives and challenges.
research/creation component of an ethnodrama is the participative
process of writing a play," says Snow. "The idea is that the informants
are in control of everything, including the information that is picked
up on by the researcher. Performance ethnography provides a vibrant and
textured rendition of a culture."
Snow explains that the goal is
to promote the autonomy, self-confidence and social skills of the
participants. "We're also looking to break down barriers and stigmas
aimed at people with developmental disabilities."Top: Rehearsal for
Our World. Bottom: Participant David Allen. Photos by Concordia University.Related links