Social Presencing Theatre

Project stage: Developing and Testing

The problem:  The complex social and environmental issues facing society today require new approaches to problem-solving. Traditional methods may not be effective in addressing the underlying structures and dynamics at play. This highlights the need for system tools like social presencing theatre that can help individuals and groups to develop a deeper understanding of complex systems and social issues, tap into their collective intelligence, creativity, and wisdom, and develop innovative solutions.

Target Group: Those recovering from substance addiction, their families, carers and people working with them. 

Geographic Area: Ballymun, Dublin.

Partners: STAR Ballymun.

Solution: Finding new ways to give voice to those directly affected by drug abuse. Social Presencing Theatre (SPT) is a technique developed by the Presencing Institute in MIT that allows people to play out dramatically how they experience a system as it is and might be. In this programme we used it as a vehicle to explore and express experiences of participants from which new insights into, or ways of reframing, problems might emerge.

Funders: Community Foundation Ireland.

Tools used: Social Presencing Theatre also referred to as 4D mapping. Theatre is used in connection to its root meaning – a place where something significant becomes visible, or where a community of people can see a shared experience.

Changes made: Staff and clients see the potential of these techniques as an alternative to usual communication methods. They now want to incorporate it into the therapeutic treatment of clients and to use it as a means of advocating for better support for those dealing with substance abuse. 

What people said: ‘A new way to give support to those directly affected, to explain and communicate that experience to those who are not’. 

Next step: Seek funding to facilitate training of STAR therapists in SPT and related techniques.

Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 03 - Good Health and Wellbeing
Goal 10 - Reduced Inequalities