Imagining possibilities with image theatre

This is an exercise that helps us imagine. We are sharing it with you because it is a technique that you can also use with people you work with to start a discussion about how to change things. What is great about this method is that we start imagining with our bodies. It is very easy to talk about change with words but as soon as we try and demonstrate this change with our bodies we have to move away from ideas into action. This forces us to think about how we are going to DO something rather than just talk about something.

Image theatre is about creating a still image, almost like a photograph but you do it with your bodies. You split the group up into two. The one group is made up of sculptures. The other group are the witnesses. Firstly, in silence without using a word, the first group creates an image with their bodies of the issue. Once they have finished the other group walk around the image and talk about what they see. Then the scultures tell the witnesses what they created. Finally anyone can change the image until everyone is happy that the image represents a clear picture of the issue.

Now you ask the witnesses to create an image of a possible solution to the problem. They also do this in silence. The witnesses walk around this new image and talk about what they see. As with the first image, the sculptures can then say what they created. Finally, anyone can change the image until everyone is happy that the image represents a clear picture of a possible solution.

Now comes the hard bit.The first group makes an image of how to get from the issue to the solution what action has to happen to make the solution a possibility? As before the witnesses walk around and talk about what they see, then the sculptures explain what they are doing. As before, people change the image until everyone is happy with this image of action. This is not the end though, for this image we do one more thing. The witnesses place themselves in the image too so that everyone is part of the action.