264 pages, 6 x 9
21 b&w photos
Release Date:01 May 2020
Release Date:01 May 2020


Military Veterans, Trauma, and Research-Based Theatre

UBC Press

This book is a call to action to responsibly address the sometimes difficult transition many soldiers face when returning to civilian life. It explores the development, performance, and reception of Contact!Unload, a play that brings to life the personal stories of veterans returning home from deployment overseas.

The play showcases an arts-based therapeutic approach to dealing with trauma. To bring Contact!Unload to life, researchers in theatre and group counselling collaborated with military veterans through a series of workshops to create and perform the play. Based on the lives of military veterans, it depicts ways of overcoming stress injuries encountered during service. This action-based artistic initiative, coupled with a therapeutic program, served as a successful model for military veterans transitioning to civilian life.

This book, which includes the full script of the play, offers academic, artistic, personal, and theoretical perspectives from people directly involved in the performances of Contact!Unload as well as those who witnessed the work as audience members. Both the play and the book serve as a model for using arts-based approaches to mental health care, and as a powerful look into the experiences of military veterans.

This innovative volume will appeal to arts-based researchers, clinicians, mental health practitioners, military personnel, and veterans who want to explore alternative, arts-based therapeutic approaches to trauma, as well as those interested in the military experience.

George Belliveau is the head of the Department of Language and Literacy Education and a professor of drama/theatre education at the University of British Columbia. He is a professionally trained actor and has participated in over 100 theatre productions as an actor, director, or playwright. He is a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.

Graham W. Lea is an assistant professor of theatre education at the University of Manitoba. He has also taught at the National Institute of Education /Nanyang Technological Institute in Singapore, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Prince Edward Island. He has been involved in theatre for thirty years, working as a playwright, stage-manager, director, actor, musician, and technician.

Marv Westwood is professor emeritus in the Department of Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia. He is recognized internationally for the development of the Veteran’s Transition Program.

Contributors: Michael Balfour, Elizabeth Banister, Marla Buchanan, Christopher Cook, Susan Cox, Britney Dennison, Heather Duff, Foster Eastman, Lynn Fels, Timothy Garthside, Alistair G. Gordon, Anna Keefe, Carson A. Kivari, Tim Laidler, Carl Leggo, Phillip Lopresti, Chuck MacKinnon, Candace Marshall, Blair McLean, Jennica Nichols, John S. Ogrodniczuk, Marion Porath, Janice Valdez

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