International Conference "Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
Theatre - Dance - Music - Visual & Multimedia Art - Arts Administration - Performing Arts Training - Theatre Design & Technology

December 16 - 20, 2017

Crossing the boundaries between Performance and Therapy: The Psycho-Creative Process.

Academic Paper, Films, and Masterclass by Lisa Adams-Davey, Senior Lecturer (Edge Hill University, UK) & Artistic Director (Confiança Collaborative Theatre Company, UK).  

Lisa Adams-Davey was originally trained as an actress at the East 15 Acting School, Essex, and has been an educator, actor, and director since 1988, a Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University (EHU) since 2005, and a consultant in Acting (Stagecraft) for Opera Singers at the Royal Northern College of Music since 2013. Her research concentrates on Performance and Therapy, with particular emphasis on Health and Wellbeing. Lisa has been an Institutional Teaching and Learning Fellow since 2015 (EHU) and is in her final year of training as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor. She is a Suicide Interventionist (ASIST), a Mental Health First Aider and Instructor, a qualified Hypnotherapist, Laughter Therapist, and Reiki Healer.

Lisa was the founder of the Student Peer Mentor Scheme in Performing Arts at EHU (from 2010), facilitating the training of student peer mentors and managing the scheme in support of student experience, employability, and wellbeing. She is a founder member of the University Peer Mentor working group and was a principal author on the University Student Peer Mentor Policy.

Lisa has experience of co-facilitating with the NHS on Stress Reduction courses and was awarded an International Certificate of recognition from LivingWorks, Canada, (July 2015) for her contributions to building Suicide-Safer Communities. She writes Transformative Poetry as a restorative methodology, which she uses in her performance as research projects. Lisa is the Artistic Director for the alumni theatre company, Confiança Collaborative, whose work concentrates on mental and physical illness, and the impact of the psycho-biological interface, with a view to inspiring opinion and change. (

Confiança Collaborative originated in 2014 from Lisa’s desire to work with, and to provide opportunities for, talented graduate artists, alongside an aspiration to engage in energised, innovative, and intellectually stimulating socio-politically charged performance. Their work researches the cross-fertilisation of the arts with therapy in an attempt to empower individuals, to encourage people to reconsider how we judge and value those who suffer, and to help instigate a deeper understanding, empathy, and support of those in need.  

Since 2014 Confiança projects have included core company members and specially invited artists who collectively engage in professional theatre and artistic practice. Their first production in October 2014 (They Shoot Dogs, 2009 Philip S.), directed and produced by Lisa, under the guise of SuckitAndSee Productions, received critical acclaim. The company worked intensively for three months to produce, what was described by the press as, “A tour de force… highly-charged… smouldering like a loose-cannon about to go off" (TPR Northwest, Reviewer Jamie Gaskin, 03/10/14) and received international recognition for their “positive and constructive impact on society” in The Good News Planet, New York (October 2014 - They have collaborated on master-classes and filming with TV Director Pip Short and casting director Dorothy Andrew, and presented the mini-documentary, Dramatising Complex Trauma, for the Round Table initiative at the Everyman Theatre for the Liverpool Mental Health Festival (2015). Their second live production on which they collaborated with Cultivart, entitled Silent Scars I, was commissioned by the Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool (2015). This physical and visual devised piece focused on depression and PTSD, and audience recognition included, “you identified exactly how I feel inside” and “you took me on a very emotional journey.” In March 2017, the company, alongside some invited artists, were commissioned to create an Observed Structured Video Examination for nursing students at EHU, which was directed by Lisa. Confiança worked alongside clinicians in a filmed scenario, which was a verbatim script focusing on autism, medical imperatives, and poor communication. 

Confiança Collaborative’s latest production, Red Carpet by Mark Curtis, an original script focusing on clinical depression and attempted suicide is a rich mix of graphic drama, outrageous humour, powerful physicalisation, and contemporary mixed media. In October 2017, the company performed a prepared script reading / performance of the work at the Liverpool Mental Health Festival at The Brink, and the full production premiered at the Arts Centre’s Rose Theatre, Ormskirk for World Mental Health Awareness Week. With Confiança, and with the support of a psychotherapist in residence, Cathy Vincent, Lisa continues to develop a rehearsal methodology which focuses on the interface between psychotherapy and performance. 

Lisa has particular expertise in Acting, Drama, Improvisation and Devising techniques, Physical Theatre, Performance and the Body, Performance Composition, Vocal Studies, Directing, and Performance Studies. 


This presentation and masterclass aims to share elements of the psycho-creative process, as explored by Confiança Collaborative Theatre Company when working on their production of Red Carpet by Mark Curtis. The presentation, by the Artistic Director, Lisa Adams-Davey, will explore the company’s philosophy of examining the cross-fertilisation of the arts with therapy, in an attempt to empower individuals and to encourage a deeper understanding, empathy, and support of those with mental ill health. It will disclose how the Confiança Collaborative Theatre Company have worked with their psychotherapist in residence and with a therapeutic imperative, in a safe psycho-social space, to continue to develop a new rehearsal methodology, thereby focusing on the interface between psychotherapy and performance. The masterclass will explore certain practical techniques developed throughout the production and will afford participants the opportunity to engage in a lab-based experiment, using elements of the original script that traverse the psychic mindscape of ill health with reality.

Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse"