VIEW from the Inside: Courage Journey is a puppetry- based workshop that encourages discussion about mental wellness. Through the creation, exhibition and performance of a self-reflective mask-body puppet, participants develop community, foster resiliency and gain a voice for their stories.
2015-16, delivered VIEW workshops to around 50 participants at:
Circle of Supports – Boys and Girls Club, an after school program for Indigenous youth
Pathways to Housing, a project of The Alex for Adults at risk of homelessness
United Active Living – Garrison Green Seniors Centre
Studio C, a community mental health program
We offered three-hour mini VIEW workshops to 75 participants from:
Jack James High School alternative high school
St Basil’s Malkite Green Catholic Church and Syrian Refugee Youth Group,
Brenda Strafford Women’s Shelter
Pathfinders – Girl Guides of Canada
Four Directions Indigenous Foster Children Program
The resulting puppets were included in art shows that validated the participant’s creative process and helped build their self-esteem.
In 2016, together with This is My City Festival, WP Puppet Theatre mounted two exhibitions featuring the extraordinary mask-body puppets. The display at The New Gallery +15 had over 130,000 viewers. The United Active Living exhibit of 40 artworks and writings had over 120 viewers. Additionally, presentations were made at Puppet Power 2016: Connecting Generations conference and Creative Aging conference.
In 2017 WP Puppet Theatre screened a documentary featuring performances by the participants with This is My City Festival. Also in 2017, Wendy Passmore-Godfrey, Allan Rosales and Suzanne Clease created Healing Ointment—an art exhibition comprised of art pieces that respond to the stories heard during the VIEW program. It was toured throughout Alberta in 2017-18 by the AFA Travelling Exhibition Program (TREX).
VIEW with Seniors in 2017-18
Programs such as VIEW give seniors the opportunity to be actively creative, engage socially and share the very important and often lost stories and wisdom of their lives. In addition, the art that they create can build self-esteem, enhance quality of life and create a meaningful legacy as a result of a lifetime of experiences. With Calgary Foundation funding support, WPTS team is piloting VIEW in 2018 with about 60 people at the Kirby Centre, The Alzheimer’s Society – Club 36 and with the Carya -Active Chinese Seniors Cultural Group. The University of Calgary Faculty of Nursing students are supporting the VIEW workshops in their community practicum.
VIEW with Youth 2017-18
Additionally, in Spring 2018, with Education Matters funding support, WPTS team will work with over 50 at-risk youth attending Forest Lawn High School. These students have diverse backgrounds. Some are refugees, some speak multiple languages and some already have existing mental health concerns or know of a friend or a family member with a psychological disorder. Our goal is to de-stigmatize mental health and promotes connection, understanding, empathy and openness amongst students, teachers and school staff.
There are life experiences, which cannot be described literally but can be expressed symbolically.