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The Murder Next Door: Developing healing responses and building community following trauma using research-based theatre


The Murder Next Door: Developing healing responses and building community following trauma using research-based theatre

Reilly, Rosemary C. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7274-4488 (2020) The Murder Next Door: Developing healing responses and building community following trauma using research-based theatre. In: Mreiwed, Hala and Carter, Mindy and Mitchell, Claudia, (eds.) Art as an agent for social change. Brill/Sense, Boston, pp. 44-54. ISBN 978-90-04-44285-6

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Collective trauma must be transformed in and by the community. Since mutual social support forms the foundation for psychologically rebuilding community, relationships with family, co-workers, and neighbours become a primary source of recovery and healing. This allows communities not only to bounce back, but to “bounce forward” as Manyena et al. (2011) have indicated in the title of their article and move from a sense of powerlessness towards pride and deep-rooted attachment. Most communities have outlined plans to deal with natural disasters and emergencies, but municipal officials and community leaders have little guidance on how to address psychological or emotional community trauma and its aftermath. When trauma strikes, it affects everyone. It is not uncommon for residents to feel less positive, less energetic, and unable to enjoy life in the aftershock of a trauma; they are less able to generate and implement healing strategies themselves. Therefore, it is imperative that strategies for local community healing be identified prior to the occurrence of trauma. The project I discuss in this chapter created an opportunity for community members to engage in just such strategies. Using principles of research-based theatre (Belliveau, 2015) I created a readers’ theatre presentation about the murder of a family in a close-knit small town. I theatricalised research data gleaned from three case studies of community trauma in an urban community (two domestic homicides), a rural one (the murder of a young girl), and a school community (a mass shooting). This performance functioned as a starting point for discussions on how to promote community healing effectively outside of an existing real-life trauma and its emotional and psychological wake.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Applied Human Sciences
Item Type:Book Section
Authors:Reilly, Rosemary C.
Editors:Mreiwed, Hala and Carter, Mindy and Mitchell, Claudia
Date:15 October 2020
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1163/9789004442870_005
Keywords:community trauma, healing strategies, public policy, reader's theatre, research-based theatre, arts-based research, posttraumatic growth
ID Code:987555
Deposited By: Rosemary Reilly
Deposited On:28 Oct 2020 18:13
Last Modified:28 Oct 2020 18:13


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