Between 2005 and 2008, the Center for Women's Rights ran an innovative rehabilitation program: “Therapy Through Drama”. As part of the Center's PIW EQUAL Project, the program aimed to using the medium of drama to create a new kind of therapeutic space for victims of abuse. The brainchild of therapist, producer and writer, Dagna Ślepowrońska, the program centered around the PIW EQUAL mantra of “Life and Work: Rediscovering Dignity for Victims of Violence”.
Dagna's field is psychodrama – a dynamic dramatic approach in which participants use spontaneous dramatization, role playing and dramatic self-presentation to investigate and gain insight into their lives. Dagna has been at the helm of six screenplays and performances based on the experiences of the women who took part in the project.
Each piece is the product of extensive psychotherapeutic work with victims of abuse. The pieces constitute a symbolic farewell to the status of victim and the birth of a new subjectivity; autonomous and able to face new challenges. The process offers the opportunity not only to work toward this holistic goal of self-affirmation and personal closure, but also to be a productive and creative environment, culminating in a final set of performances to be enjoyed in the same manner as traditional drama.
As the program progressed, Dagna and her participants began to develop the idea of the Women's Drama Center. At its core, the Center aims to construct an environment in which women, particularly marginal/vulnerable groups, can learn, inspire and be inspired.
The Centre aims to provide the following services:
People realising the project
Dagna Ślepowrońska – A psychotherapist and drama practitioner working with with Center for Women's Rights. She is a member of the Polish Writers Association and the Drama Practitioners Stop-Klatka Association. In the 1980’s she worked extensively in experimental theatre: PSPS Theatre and the Artistic Cooperative Theatre. She is the author of six dramas performed both in Poland and abroad, alongside various radio plays performed on Polish Radio. She has published four volumes of poetry and thirty five children's books. Her work has been translated into English, German, Russian, Ukrainian and Czech.
Maria Depta – a drama practitioner, working with the Center for Women's Rights since 2009. Since 2004 she has been a member of the SPD Stop-Klatka Associatio and lecturer for the Higher School of the Rehabilitative Pedagogy Pedagogium in Warsaw. She was the stipendist of Sokrates Erazmus programme at Exeter University in the UK, where she graduated with qualifications in applied drama. She is a graduate of an annual student workshop organized by the Helsinki Human Rights Organisation. She has also been involved in a new educational drama project “Something for Kacper”, focused on children in gimnasiums.
Katarzyna Szurman – a musicologist working with the Center for Women's Rights, Katarzyna is a member of the Warsaw Association's “DomTańca”, focused on preserving Polish traditional culture. An accomplished violinist and accordionist, she leads the folk band Czarne Motyle playing traditional waltzs, foxtrots and interwar tangos. She is also a contributing musician with the off-theatre “Scena Lubelska 30/32.
Katarzyna Żytomirska- a musician, writer and ethnologist working with the Center for Women's Rights. Since 2001 Katarzyna hasalso been a member of “DomTańca”. Together with the members of the Association, she has been hosting music and dance workshops in schools and kindergartens with a focus on Polish traditional forms. She hosts singing workshops, is an independent composer, professional singer and writer. Since 2002, she has been a performer with theScena Lubelska 30/32 theatre.
Monika Kisła – an actress at the the Higher School of Special Pedagogy in Warsaw. Monika is currently working at the Municipal House of Culture in Wołomin, producing cultural and educational projects for children and teenagers. She is also working with the Association for Developing Children Activities, SZANSA. Since, she has founded the teenage drama group WPROST. Moniki also lectures on ‘social acting’ at the Academy of National Defense in Rembertów.
Translated by Ewelina Szeratics
Edited by Rob Anderson