The Theatre of Life: Collective Narrative Practice with Trans Young People in the Community

Prof Doc Thesis

Mills, D. 2017. The Theatre of Life: Collective Narrative Practice with Trans Young People in the Community. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsMills, D.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Although the body of literature exploring issues important for the lives of trans people has explored different forms of oppression, there is currently a paucity of research exploring responses to oppression specifically for young trans people. This research works with young trans people as ambassadors who contribute to the research design, analysis and procedure as participatory action researchers. Responses to oppression may be important to understand if we are to contribute to the changes needed at wider levels. For example community, institutional and social levels. The aims of this project are to join with young people who identify as trans, through meeting with them at a trans community interest group. By working in partnership with ambassadors we drew upon liberation psychology to guide the project and as a result we co- created and co-facilitated a group session. This session invited 5 other young trans people to talk about their lives. The research aim was to create a context to enable young people to tell stories of the everyday forms of resistance to oppression. This was done through the aid of a poster and by using the metaphor of a theatre stage to guide their story whilst also providing a safe position from which to tell it, and was named ‘The Theatre of Life’.
These stories were analysed using a ‘narrative analysis’ where participants and ambassadors were involved in quality checks. The results found were primarily that the ‘Theatre of Life’ session can generate stories of resistance from young trans people. Their collective story of resistance was named ‘A Chorus of Self-Love As a Radical Act’. It explores the importance of queer community, overshadowed aspects of identity, finding safety and inspiring others to initiate social change beyond the trans community. The results also identify relevant audience members with whom these stories will resonate in order to create social action (community, institutional and political), as well as for therapeutic use. The results also produce opportunities for sharing stories using the creative arts (e.g. theatre, performance, art, spoken word, poetry) for increased impact and wide reach.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited29 Mar 2018
Publisher's version
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