This project consisted of a 1-day interdisciplinary event bringing together staff and students from Philosophy, Theatre, Psychology, Sociology and other departments to view a performance and take part in discussion and workshop activities.
'Ergo Sum' is a multi-sensory theatre production currently being developed by Sleight of Hand with collaborators from charities (Mind, TLC Care, National Autistic Society), theatre companies (Theatre Delicatessen, Shunt, Sublime and Ridiculous) and research institutions (e.g. the Institute of Neurology, the Institute of Psychiatry, and Warwick). The project uses technology and multi-sensory live performance to give people the experience of shifting, plural realities and varying perspectives on the world. Long-term we seek to create a unique, fully immersive and interactive experience, incorporating illusions of sight, sound, smell, and touch (through using things like projection mapping, binaural sound, and haptic technology) to explore neurological and psychiatric conditions and the diversity of human experience.
The event at Warwick gave participants the opportunity to experience an extract from the production, using headphones and binaural “3D” sound to simulate schizophrenic hallucinations and place the audience member in the mindset of another human being.
A talk, Q&A and discussion session after the performance encouraged sharing of perspectives on some challenging topics including medication, stigma, sectioning, and empathy, as well as discussing creative and aesthetic choices, the effectiveness of and personal reactions to the piece, and the future of the project. Participants signed up to a mailing list to stay in touch for future updates on the production.
The performance and subsequent discussions emphasised the powerful potential that multi-sensory theatrical experiences have to change views, widen understanding and encourage the sharing of ideas and experiences.
Ellie Chadwick is a freelance theatre practitioner and PhD student at the University of Warwick where she also teaches undergraduate modules on directing and on early theatre. Her thesis investigates a style of storytelling that has become popular in recent years but which has its roots in the ancient origins of theatrical performance. She runs the theatre company Sleight of Hand with whom she is currently developing ‘Ergo Sum’.