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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

PAUL MURRAY (article first published : 2000-05-7)

My name is Paul Murray, I am a free-lance community arts practitioner in the UK. For the past twelve years I have specialised in using theatre devising and performing techniques with groups in the community who may be described as disadvantaged; including people in prisons and on probation, adults with mental health problems, children and adolescents with emotional and behavioural difficulties, adults and children with learning difficulties and adults and children with moderate to severe physical disabilities (among others).

The focus of my work (especially over the past five years) has been on the potential for personal development for the participant of artistic projects. This work has been based on both theatrical and psychotherapeutic principles, however I do not regard the work I do as being “Dramatherapy” in the accepted sense of the term, more “Theatre Participation Therapy”.

I am currently undertaking a research degree at Warwick University, England under the tutorship of Dr. Jonathan Neelands, into the relationship between “performing arts practice and theory” and (what can be broadly defined as) “mental health”; and it is for the furtherance of this study, and my own professional development, that I am contacting you.

It is my aim over the next two years (fundraising permitting!), to visit practitioners throughout the world who are working in a similar field as myself, where the art (particularly theatre) is being used as a vehicle for personal development. It is my aim to visit such practitioners, compare their work to each other and my own, and ultimately publish my findings in the cause of outlining; good practice and the further potential of this field of work, which I already know can bring some extraordinary results for participants.

Please could you let me know if you know of anyone who is working in an equivalent field in South Africa.

Yours sincerely, PAUL MURRAY (UK community arts practitioner)

Contact Details: Basement Flat, 39, Montpellier Terrace, Cheltenham. GL50 1UX. UK. Tel: 0944 (0) 1242 261-846. E-mail: muzzo@freeuk.com




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