At one session at D and D 15 a comment was made that theatre should not attempt to be therapeutic.

This conversation explored that notion. A lot of perforning art explores both the human condition as well as issues in the world.

There is a danger that, by exploring and presenting trauma that we can end up re-traumatising audience members, and even theatre makers and performers.

Yet, respectfully and sensitively done, theatre can help the process of debrief - to re-examine, replay and to 'come down' from powerful experiences.

There is a danger of this creating an uncontrolled process of 'unravelling' - how do we cope with this? What is the impact of our work leads to crisis-catharsis or break down?

A few reflections:

- the post-show experience becomes important and partly the responsbility of those hosting and presenting such work

-- audiences may need to be warned that the show or event contains elements of debrief

- debrief reminded us of military debrief where part of the purpose is to enable a person to de-traumatise, prevent further trauma, relive trauma in a safe place, and, by going through debrief, to come down, detox, to find coping mechanisms and be able to return to normal state - this is complex and different for different people

- theatre as debrief can enable the finding of insight and resolution

- it can create a comunity, a shared experience in the audience

= there may be a positive or negative aftermath.

Can theatre as debrief be likened, when it goes out of control, to entertainment like the Jeremy Kyle Show? It should never be gratuitous or clumsy?

Theatre aa debrief offers the chance to heal but also overaps with therapeutic practice and intervention.

When it is Brechtian and holds up an uncomfortable mirror to the audience it can engender Wow moments but that surprise can be ahocking and require further debrie. This is where the after-show time may need places to recover and even the offer of skilled help.

Theatre can also be debrief for a a writer and performer, especially where material is autobiographical. This exists in personal storytelling.

This session left a lot of questions hanging in the air:

- What are the ethical issues involved?

- What skills are needed?

- Who has already used theatre as a debrief process? What have we already learned?

- What risks are there and how can they be managed or minimised?

- Does this approach become more important in such a confused world?

- How does improvised theatre fit in?

- What is the role of the fourth wall?

One suggested reference: Humble Inquiry by Edgar Schein

Fields to look into: psychodrama and forum theatre