Sunday, 22 February 2015


Passing Paul around the room

Throughout the week Paul sometimes led us in exercises by Brazilian director and dramatist Augusto Boal, who believed that theatre should be a force for radical change. Throughout my times at Corrymeela and in work with others in the social change movement over the years I have been exposed to many activities attributed to Boal. They are not only fun, but often thought provoking and a catalyst to deeper reflection.

We began our last morning at Corrymeela “passing Paul around the room” … with “Paul” as an imaginary large ball. Fast, slow, loud, soft. It helped lighten the mood of heaviness from the deep sharing the night before, and also helped us create a new circle with everyone fully present and ready to begin again.

It’s often a challenge to imagine how those who have had an intense, perhaps even transformative experience together can even imagine going back into their “normal” lives and translating the experience to those at home. This has been a concern for every group I have taken to Corrymeela, and in fact every intense learning experience I have had at Tatamagouche Centre in Nova Scotia. How do we take our experiences back into the world? Often there is a huge disconnect between what folks think we have experienced, and the reality.

Paul helped the group begin the task of integration by asking folks to write a postcard about their week. Just the highlights. You can’t get much on a postcard. People seemed to appreciate the exercise. After a closing sharing circle and expressions of gratitude all around, it was over. Lunch. Then Peter, who does many things at Corrymeela, including driving the Corrymeela bus, once again performed a small miracle by getting all of our luggage, plus us, into the bus, and we were off to Belfast, then Dublin.

And, we were lucky enough to get the Corrymeela wave. Not every group gets one – it depends on what time you leave, which way you go (up or down the hill) and how many folks are around to run like mad from the parking lot to the edge of the cliff to wave goodbye. Kendra took the shot below – a bit grainy but you get the idea. Also, a shot of the whole group before we got on the bus, including Paul, and our volunteers AJ from Phoenix in the U.S. and Juan from Columbia.


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