DCU Recovery College

Yesterday, I received this beautiful sunflower from my students and one of them brought in this poem by Mary Oliver which I asked her to read aloud for us.

Come with me
into the field of sunflowers.
Their faces are burnished disks,
their dry spines
creak like ship masts,
their green leaves,
so heavy and many,
fill all day with the sticky
sugars of the sun.
Come with me
to visit the sunflowers,
they are shy
but want to be friends;
they have wonderful stories
of when they were young –
the important weather,
the wandering crows.
Don’t be afraid
to ask them questions!
Their bright faces,
which follow the sun,
will listen, and all
those rows of seeds –
each one a new life!
hope for a deeper acquaintance;
each of them, though it stands
in a crowd of many,
like a separate universe,
is lonely, the long work
of turning their lives
into a celebration
is not easy. Come
and let us talk with those modest faces,
the simple garments of leaves,
the coarse roots in the earth
so uprightly burning.

sunflower

It was so appropriate for our group. I finished facilitating an experimental course with them where they played with drama, movement and creative writing and last week, I finished a drama course in Navan for the same organisation. Recovery College is a new venture and for me, working with them – has been an enriching, enlightening and very rewarding experience. I was given free reign to do what I do – design and facilitate course modules that are useful and empowering for adults working on their own recovery from mental health distress. It is encouraging to see people smile and have fun and feel safe while exploring their creativity despite what life has thrown at them. The power and support in these groups is inspiring. I wish them all the very best. Many thanks to the tireless efforts of Recovery College who are working so hard to provide much needed peer-led courses in this area. If you have an interest in mental health, work in mental health or have had mental health distress in your life, contact them and see if what they are offering this Autumn is up your alley. Most of the courses are on during the day.

If I had my life to live over again?

thisisitWorth pondering over these thoughts from 85-year old Nadine Stair when she was asked this very question.

If I had my life to live over again,
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax.
I’d limber up.
I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances,
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones.
you see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane,
hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments.
If I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else- just moments,
one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live my life over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances,
I would ride more merry-go-rounds,
I would pick more daisies.

– Nadine Stair

Also worth having a read of what Mrs. Mindfulness has to say about slowing down. She thinks we all ought to hurry up and slow down!

Learning to Draw is so much fun and more relaxing than we realised

screen-shot-2017-05-31-at-09-45-24

screen-shot-2017-05-31-at-09-45-50

screen-shot-2017-05-31-at-09-46-15

screen-shot-2017-05-31-at-09-46-44We had such a great time in the Beginners Drawing class. So sad it is over. What a lovely relaxing time of a Tuesday. This is one hobby worth keeping. Next course will be in September. For more information about this contact us at actthemaggot@gmail.com #drawing #art #mindfulness #relaxation #perspective #humans

The skinny on “this thing called Mindfulness” from Ruby Wax

rubywaxWhile out and about in Dublin town last week, Act The Maggot got to meet the amazing comedian #RubyWax at her one-woman show #Frazzled at the O’Reilly Theatre in Belvedere College. Her book, of the same name, is definitely worth a read. Lots of laugh-out-loud sections. In all good bookstores now. She has a very entertaining take on the whole reason we need to factor daily meditation into our lives. It is based on her own personal experience. If you are interested in this subject, why not come along to one of our introductory Mind Yourself workshops. Take a look at the testimonials and decide for yourself. In the meantime, namaste!

New testimonials on Mind Yourself workshop

shouldersThanks to all the participants who came along yesterday to the introductory workshop in mindfulness meditation. Take a look at some of their comments.

“Amy offered great tips and quick exercises to move you towards Zen in minutes. I learned meditation can be easy and accessible to everyone. Time very well spent.”

“I really enjoyed this course. It’s a great introduction to the fundamental concepts and practice of mindfulness, or as in my case, a refresher course, having done a bit of it years ago. Amy is very professional, warm and informative and makes it all very accessible. I feel like I can make a real start on this based on the course and the suggested reading and research materials. I’d certainly recommend it.”

“I really enjoyed Amy’s approach to meditating. She was extremely informative but made it seem practical and also fun. She gave great references and we did a wide variety of excerises so everyone felt they could at least adopt something at home. I’d highly recommend this class to anyone who is looking for an introduction to meditating.”

Want to spice up your summer? Why not Act The Maggot!

BEGINNERSC’mon, folks! You know you want to. Inject some serious silly in to your summer. Everyone who does it says they want to do it all over again. Yes! Act The Maggot is the popular six-week acting class in Temple Bar especially designed for complete beginners, returnees or late bloomers! It’s so much fun. You better book fast. Places disappear quickly on the Summertime Act The Maggot class! Read our testimonials here and take a look at our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Each six-week course cost €180. For more information on this fun acting class have a read. Call us on 087 374 4926 or actthemaggot@gmail.com to book your place.

Public Speaking is not so terrifying after all!

the-singing-stageHere are some of the latest testimonials from our March beginners’ acting class in Temple Bar. These maggots were a keen bunch and it seems like they had lots of fun. More power to them. Thank you all for taking the time to give us feedback so we can continue to refine and improve what we offer.

“I had so much fun at Act the Maggot and I met some really great people. And I also learned that speaking in front of a group isn’t as terrifying as I thought and I can actually do it!”

“I had a lot of fun acting the maggot! I couldn’t wait to see what crazy and entertaining exercises we would do next. Learning about improvisation has helped in my every day life.”

“I had an absolute ball doing the course. It’s great to push oneself out of the comfort zone. Everyone who did the course was really, really lovely and I’ll definitely be going back for round two 🙂 !”

“I had an amazing time doing this course, learned a lot about myself and met loads of amazing people. I would do this course again.”

“A brilliant course – great for people who want to get outside their comfort zone and experience something new.”

Take a look at our Testimonials

img_4446.jpgBeginners Acting for Adults, Beginners’ Creative Writing and Beginners’ Drawing. Why do people Act The Maggot? What do they think about their experience? Take a look at some more testimonials.

“It was a brilliant experience for me. Somedays I felt very tired going to class and came skipping out. It felt a very safe platform to try out acting as a beginner while also encourging you to go outside your comfort zone. It was a great way to meet new people with plenty of opportunities to get to know people outside of the class also. People were from different walks of life which was lovely and added to the whole experience.”

I loved the course. I revived my thirst for writing. I went into the course with an idea I had started writing about. It was due to our “non-compulsory” homework for the course that a TV show proposal I wrote ended up getting commissioned by a TV station. Everyone had different interests which is what make it so much fun and it was really laid back. Couldn’t recommend it more to get you creative juices flowing. I did it for the crack and it delivered big time.”

“I really enjoyed the different backgrounds and different ages of participants and that it was focused on people with no acting experience. It took a lot of pressure off doing the course. Some of the exercises were very interesting like the mindfulness have encouraged me to research more into that area as well. It’s very good. A friend of mine has signed up to it recently as well.”

“It is fun, creative, easy going but with just the right amount of challenge to keep it interesting and really worth going going back to each week. I found it great for my self confidence and well being to speak in front of others and to be creative, play and use imagination in the company of like minded people while being facilitated by someone who ensured it was safe and fun.”

What do you get when you cross the Abbey Theatre with two Scotsmen?

unknownRelevance.
Perhaps? Let’s see.
Most heavy weight or complicated subjects cannot be discussed on air live in a radio studio, much less on television. And often, right now, is just too early to dissect an issue. It hasn’t even been digested. It’s too raw. It’s too cooked. Too silent. Too loud. Too in your face. On air, the segment, the sound bite, the phone in, all of it is not working. Things are begin left out. We are not getting the full story. The time does not permit it. There is no conclusive argument – “that’s all we have time for folks, I’m going to have to cut you short there”, how many times have you heard that? Or how frustrating is it when all you hear are lots of white men talking over one another in a studio and nothing is really said or heard. And, although social media is definitely more inclusive and it is good for picking up on stuff or catching the gist of a news story…..you can just forget about Facebook and Twitter for informed debate unless you have hours upon hours at your disposal for wading through the miles of rants, inaccuracies and the repetition! How about theatre then? Can it be a place of relevance? As opposed to this high brow, obtuse, irrelevant place where middle-aged people go to fall asleep before their steak dinners. Is a play the result of one writer tap tap tapping away beside a burning flame in a dusty garret? Yes and No. But mainly, No. The playwright is a very specific kind of writer. Albeit still poor. And when paid, still underpaid but that is food for another day. The playwright writes for the stage. Is thinking orally all the time. Thinking how people think and talk. The playwright covers many angles. Looks at a story, event, issue from the point of view of different characters and that is key. We are in a very exciting period for theatre. Now more than ever, we need discourse, debate, analysis and I’m sorry but the media machine is not doing its job of facilitating this. In real time, current issues are lost to the next, hottest story in the blink of an eye. And what was of vital significance yesterday is all but forgotten by today. There is also very real menacing legal fears. Can we print this? Can you say that? Ah the beauty of fiction. Theatre can revisit these real time issues and light them up again. Put them under the microscope. There is something about it being “up there” on the stage, the rational and the emotional fused. Stories made flesh. Maybe we can see things more clearly. Tf successful, a good play can truly cast some new light on a subject. And then, maybe then, we can have a proper, satisfying, conclusive argument afterwards in the pub. Imagine that?! Now that kind of theatre might even lead to change or God forbid, action. It might lead to better journalism and better theatre again. Osmosis. Dare I say it? A better world. The Abbey theatre is now being run by two new directors from Scotland and things are hotting up there. Neil Murray and Graham McLaren have just announced three brand new short plays as three urgent responses to issues that are happening right now. Take a look at their most recently announced short play line-up for May and treat yourself to a ticket. I for one am definitely going to check out A Whisper Anywhere Else today!

This Scottish three-year-old rocks

screen-shot-2017-04-20-at-10-01-18If you haven’t met Isla Nelson yet you are in for a treat. Her comedian Dad gives us her take on everything from Celebrity Culture to Easter to Valentines Day. Enjoy!