Margaret Emerton, a longstanding member of our Elders group, recently told us about her experience of working together with our Sharing Cultures group.

During the past few weeks the Sharing Cultures group, with participants from the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, and the Belgrade Elders group have been working together to explore how drama can portray physical, mental, and emotional healing.

The workshops led by Kim Hackleman and supported by translators, have been a mixture of working in various groups and individually.

From the start, it was clear that we all experience the need for healing in so many different ways and for different reasons: from the hands of a doctor or alone in meditation, from a soak in the bath to climbing the highest mountain.

Together we explored and experienced the sound of the words we use. The soft soothing words of comfort and support.

As we listened to a poem in Arabic, it wasn’t the words we understood but the tone and the rhythm that triggered our emotions. The most powerful words were those unspoken words. The gentle touch that said I am here for you, the hand offered that said I will support you, or the eye contact that said I am listening to you, and the smile that can say a thousand words.

Music has always been part of healing since time began.

As we listened to each group’s chosen music, we were taken back to our culture and our faith, or the relaxation of the holiday music. We felt the emotions of a lullaby sung to a babe in arms waiting to be rescued from the sea and felt the pounding rhythm of Reggae bring us joy.

Music is so important to our lives, and essential to drama.

We have all suffered pain in our lives and sought healing. For this session, we were asked to put our thoughts into one moment in time, a freeze frame. We didn’t need words, the body language said it all. The grief and tears of loss, the fear of cruelty, the isolation of intolerance, in those brief moments we felt them all.

The final challenge was to create a character monologue using all that we had learned. A challenge for us all, especially for those for whom English was a second language. The sharing of these monologues to an invited audience was incredible. Each created there own emotions, we were taken to a time or place of healing.

During these sessions there have been moments that took our breath away. I guess words are not enough. Like all good theatre, you need to be there to experience it.

Drama can create healing, break down barriers and build understanding and friendship.