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Accepted Paper:

Ritual Innovation in Contemplative Theatre - Exploring the affective space of mindfulness-based somatic workshops in contemporary Japan through collaborative autoethnography  
Yuki Imoto (Keio University)Sylvie Beaud (Teikyo University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, we discuss how "Contemplative Theatre" is being introduced in educational and therapeutic contexts in Japan. We suggest that Contemplative Theatre is a liminal space of ritual innovation, and we tell the stories of the participants, incorporating autoethnographic approaches.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, we discuss how "Contemplative Theatre" is being introduced in educational and therapeutic contexts in Japan. We suggest that Contemplative Theatre is a liminal space of ritual innovation, and tell the stories of the participants, incorporating autoethnographic approaches.

Since 2018, Imoto has been organizing Contemplative Theatre workshops within universities and beyond, in collaboration with a drama therapist and 'naikan (introspection)' therapist. Beaud joined as a participant in August 2018 and has been following the project since then. This paper aims for a collaborative autoethnographic approach based on the perspectives and experiences of Imoto and of Beaud.

We suggest that Contemplative Theatre is a liminal space of ritual innovation, that brings 'self-awareness', 'reconnection with self and other', and 'self-transformation', but that the meaning and experiences of this process is specific to the Japanese socio-cultural context and its artistic, spiritual, therapeutic traditions. We explore how the contemplative theatre workshop may be one ontological arena where the borders of the spiritual and the secular, the self and the other, body and mind, the 'real' and the 'imagined' disintegrate. We identify (re)connections with Japanese noh theatre, Noguchi taiso (movement practice), and kagura shamanic ritual, as well as with the facilitators' 'Westernized' influences including 'mindfulness' as a science-based approach, and drama therapy approaches developed in the UK.

Panel P080
(Re)connecting with Earth Beings: ritual innovation and affective entanglements in contemporary ecopolitics