We are the only theatre company in the UK that uses attachment theory to underpin our work, and our methodology and practice is currently the subject of a major research project at Queen Mary University London as part of Co-Director Emily Hunka’s doctoral study.
Researchers in the field of neurological attachment agree that the single most important factor in achieving a state of wellbeing is the making of strong, deep and lasting social connections. The young people who we work with all have a type of Development Attachment Disorder, having experienced, for example, abuse and neglect, meaning that they find this very challenging.
Emily’s research explores how Theatre Troupe, a carefully designed creative community, promotes neurological healing, allowing members to learn to trust and depend on others during regular sessions over a sustained period of time. In a time when mental health provision, including, for example, relationships with therapists can be short-lived, the research asks the question:
Can the “troupe” treat adolescent mental distress?
The research also includes an exploration of the effectiveness of qualitative and quantitative evaluation tools when applied to arts and health work.
Emily Hunka (2016), ‘Method in Our Madness: Seeking a theatre for the psychically disabled other’, in Otherness: Essays and Studies 5:1, special issue on Otherness and the Performing Arts, edited by Rita Sebestyén and Matthias Stephan
Emily Hunka (2015), ‘It feels like home: the role of the aesthetic space in participatory work with vulnerable children’, in Research In Drama and Education, Vol 20, No. 3, pp. 293-297