Recently, we completed a pilot on the Gold Coast of HERE BE DRAGONS. This project asked young people to do a personal inventory of their goals in the areas of work, play, love and health. It was primarily a story telling exercise that got our crew to view their lives as an adventure – to analyse their compass [values], their map [their goals], their anchors [ the habits that are holding them back], their lighthouses [ those they look up to who keep them on the right track] and ultimately to imagine their greatest treasures as well. Along the path of any great adventure we are going to find obstacles – places that we are afraid to go- in this project they were known as DRAGONS.So one important outcome from the project was to identify these dragons – the places where we fear to go – the places that are currently uncharted on the map – the places that young people saw as worthy of further exploration – places that might be the sources of liberation if we might slay them.So what do you think these DRAGONS were?
Well, Here Be the Dragons
The 6 major Dragons that the group identified were:
- Mental Health: More than half of the group had seen a GP or other mental health professional in the last year for stress, anxiety or depression. Almost half of those had been medicated or were currently medicated for these issues.
- Pressure: There were many things that young people in the group found pressuring but by far the biggest pressure they reported was that the decisions they made now would effect the rest of their lives – at a personal level I find this incredibly disturbing as it is largely a pressure that is predicated on a lie.
- Parental Conflict: Young people wanted greater relationships with parents. They spoke of wanting more time with parents and wanting the quality of the exchange to improve as well.
- Sleep Deprivation: The average nightly sleep in the group was 5 hours. This is well below recommended levels and was blamed on pressure, assignments, social media [get the phones out of the bedroom] and not being able to switch off.
- Fears for the Future: These were many. Everything from personal fears like – what will I do with my life, through to global fears like – global warming, war and fears about the things they will have to tidy up.
- Self Worth:The group nominated this as their largest dragon – the idea was that many of these young people don’t feel that great about themselves and they would like this to change for the better.
So how did you go? Were these the DRAGONS that you would have guessed? And more importantly if you are a young person [or even if you are not] which of these would you like to see further explored through the creation of a theatre work? We are so incredibly interested in your responses.