Recent research shows that about 4% of the Western population has the experience of hearing voices. However, when we focus on short or isolated experiences, that percentage grows exponentially, reaching, in some research on specific populations (college students, for example), values as high as 40 to 80%.
Hearing Voices is a project by Marionet, in partnership with MOV (Hearing Voices Movement – Portugal), CES (Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra) and Hospital Júlio de Matos’ Radio Aurora, that intends to deal artistically with the hearing voices phenomena, depicting its significance, sensory perception, changes over time, periods of crisis, but also alternative ones, and its place in a self-narrative. We also aim to explore the ways in which voices can act as important social, cultural and political forces. This project fits within our activity of disciplinary intersection between Theatre and Science, exploring ways of articulating these two fields in the transmission of knowledge.
What is proposed, thus, is the creation and public performance of a theatre show that can promote reflection on the experience, together with several other initiatives in order to widely spread the theme. We will be following a research-based theatre methodology, interviewing voice-hearers and caregivers, from which the dramaturgy will be built. Aside from that, a sound installation will be created to simulate the hearing voices experience, several round tables will be held on the theme (1), podcasts will be recorded and promoted together with Radio Aurora, and a set of articles will be published by the Público newspaper (1; 2). The whole process will be recorded on video, with the aim of producing a documentary afterwards. A survey of the show’s audience will also be carried out to evaluate the project’s impact and the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary initiative of this nature.
In terms of social intervention, this project aims to foster understanding of the hearing voices phenomena as well as the diversity of ways in which it is understood and experienced, defying stereotypes, fighting stigma and discrimination, and promoting positive responses to related experiences, bolstering consciousness of the variegated ways to deal with confusing or difficult voices, creating safe spaces for sharing and involving the media in presenting realistic perspectives on Hearing Voices and related experiences.
In the first phase we are looking for people with experience of hearing voices (or close friends and family of those who hear) who are willing and available to be interviewed as a basis for the process of reflection and creation.
The interviews will be made by experienced professionals, and all participants will remain anonymous.
In Partnership with Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (CES); Hearing Voices Movement – Portugal (MOV-PT); Radio Aurora from the Júlio de Matos Hospital.
Financed by Directorate-General for the Arts under the Partnership Programme Arte e Saúde Mental (Art and Mental Health).