The development stage of the project brought together clinical and creative practitioners on the evening of 6th June 2011 in a creative exchange involving rehearsed readings by professional actors (from Fail Better Productions) and members of the Student Ensemble. In this phase we were specifically exploring how to engage medical learners through performance projects and enactive pedagogies.
On the evening itself, a diverse audience including doctors, medical students, simulated patients, sociologists, psychiatric nurses, and psychologists gathered together to listen to a selection of readings with a psychiatric theme. Dr Matthew Broome asked:
The challenge to us, is, how do you teach important things like: coping with failure, managing compassion versus professionalism, dealing non-verbally with interview techniques? How do you teach it in not a vague, woolly way?
We had excerpts from “Diary of a madman” by Nikolai Gogol, “4.48 Psychosis” by Sarah Kane and “Discords” (adapted from Shakespeare). Following each reading the audience gave one statement per pair and after the three readings a reflective discussion was held.
On Gogol: "I think it’s a very good portrayal of psychotic illness...what’s striking is that everything the character sees he seizes on as evidence of his belief...175 years ago plus in a different country and it’s still a very realistic portrayal....The thing you see in the early stages is the dawning of awareness. It’s very impressive...it’s nice to know there is equal realism in works of fiction and drama."
On Kane: “Eerily authentic”, “fantastically accurate”, and “psychiatry is still being developed...we’re still in the early stages of psychiatry...new treatments are coming out every day which improve the quality of life”