Invictus – Stories of Resilience & Overcoming Adversity

speechbubbleStories are how we come to understand ourselves and the world around us. Stories can provide powerful opportunities to see the bigger picture and to embrace strength, honour and courage in the face of difficulty.speechbubbleright

Renda Dionne Madrigal Ph.D.   Clinical Psychologist, Mindful Practice Inc.

Target audience :-

  • Young people (year 7+)
  • Parents, carers, teachers & professionals working with young people

AlterEgo’s ‘Invictus’ was first developed just before lockdown started and aimed, as an early intervention as part of a whole system approach, to use the power of simple story-telling techniques to create a safe, contained environment with aesthetic distance to:-

  • Raise awareness of the differing forms of childhood adversity
  • Inspire hope and resilience amongst young people that may be experiencing adversity in their lives
  • Sign-post where young people can go to for help and advice.

Soon after ‘Invictus’ piloted in early 2020 the world as we know it changed.  For all of us Covid-19 brought concerns around danger, safety and the need to protect ourselves, our families, our loved ones and our friends. For some young people this period of enforced lockdown and social isolation had a massive impact by adding to pre-existing traumas and adversities. For others the global pandemic brought new experiences of change, grief, loss, trauma, toxic stress, anxiety and adversity.

For everyone there was a social disconnect. A requirement for physical distancing, a fracturing of the unwritten rules and conventions by which we run our lives and an atmosphere of fear and anxiety that has led to potentially damaging social and emotional isolation.  We realised that the messages that were in the pilot of ‘Invictus’ are now more important and essential than ever.

speechbubbleHumans are social creatures by nature. We’re not meant to lead solitary lives. It’s important for us to be able to engage, to share our experiences and feelings with others and have them bear witness.speechbubbleright

– Anne Rufa, Ph.D.  Clinical Psychologist, Rush University Medical Center.

As a direct response to Covid-19 we have redeveloped ‘Invictus’ as a tool to help with schools’ recovery curriculum and ongoing work around student’s health, well-being and safeguarding.  In addition to its original aims outlined above, we have developed ‘Invictus’ as a platform to:

  • Collectively address the traumatic period that young people have been through
  • Share, acknowledge, understand, empathise with and bear witness to young people’s different experiences of Covid-19 and to let young people know that their own stories and experiences are valid
  • Give a voice to young people’s stories and to use those stories to help promote healing, resilience, fortitude and the ability to cope with change by recognising, naming and advocating the skills and behaviours that can help young people to overcome a whole host of adversities and critical life moments (skills and behaviours like integrity, critical thinking, self-esteem, problem solving, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, mentalisation and the ability and confidence to ask for help when it is needed).

speechbubbleThe active construction of a truthful narrative helps survivors to recreate the flow of memory, transform the recollection and mourn that traumatic loss.speechbubbleright

– Judith Herman M.D.   Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School.

 The play has been re-developed in consultation with young people, youth, social and health workers as well as psychiatrists and psychologists and tells the stories of Amy, a young girl experiencing domestic abuse in her household, Jake, a young man involved in County Lines and Will, a young man suffering from neglect.  Each of their stories explores their issues through the prism of Covid-19 and how the pandemic and national lockdown affected them. The post-show talk explores their experiences further and opens them up as a platform to explore other young people’s experiences.

Show Title Invictus

Author Sean McGrath

Running Time 60 minutes (including post-show talk)

Get In 1 hr

Get Out 30 mins

Cast Size 3

Performance Space 4m x 4m

Staging Ground Level – End On