Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, to rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it and change it as times change, truly are powerless because they cannot think new thoughts.

Salman Rushdie

TheTheatre of the Self is now a box set of 5 small A6 books; a documentation book and 4 themed mental health diaries. There are a limited edition of 100 box sets for sale at £19.95

Edited by Dr. Davina Kirkpatrick and printed by Marc Clemens, Headland Printers, Penzance, the project is funded and supported by Cultivator and Arts Council funding.

Look inside: the Theatre of the Self documentation book of the read & burn process performed in 2017 is accessibly edited down to one short page per year. It contains 30 pages (30+ diaries from 1977-2010).

Each page includes: the date that I read the diary, 3 documentation photos, a single short diary entry, and a few notes that mingle personal and theoretical material.

It aims to introduce some of the project themes, research and ideas, illustrating how reading the Self can create different kinds of knowledge as we continually re-inscribe, and overlay meaning from where we are now.

Because the A6 box set is a limited edition of only 100, all of the documentation book will be available to view online once the 100 copies have been sold.

Look inside: the last page of the documentation book. The primary aim of the project is diary writing for mental health and how significant re-writing our stories can be.

Reading and burning diaries isn’t for everyone but it can be a way of dealing with stories you don’t want to keep, or leave behind. It can be a cathartic process of revisiting past Selves and understanding them from where you are now.

There are four small colour coded mental health diaries in the box set in addition to the documentation book. Evidence shows that writing can be essential for our sense of self and improving our mental health and each book is small so that you can carry it around in a pocket.

Look Inside: The 4 additional A6 books each follows a theme from the project. They each have lined writing pages with 9 additional suggestions about ways to re-organise perceptions of Self. 

display inside mental health diaries

Little Book of Smoke and mirrors are used as emblematic concepts in this book – using mirrors to discover new ways to see ourselves, and learning to recognise ways in which we hide, distort and change who we think we are. We often trick ourselves with illusions about ourselves. Gazing in a mirror we imagine a coherent, unified individual self, yet we are of course multiple, and contradictory – and constantly changing and evolving.

This book encourages us to enjoy some creative time in our heads, create versions of our selves and be our stories. Turn life in on itself and be whatever you want to be.  The consolation of narrative psychology is that we are the story we tell ourselves, and that we can create what that story is.

display inside mental health diaries

The body book helps explore ways of looking after our body and re-synching with our minds Making a bridge between our minds and bodies helps us to be ‘present’ – and bring our body stories and inner experiences together. 

Originally this book was going to be more about performance theory and the body but I felt that making many of the ideas from Bessel Van der Kolk’s The body knows the score, seemed more important.

display inside mental health diaries

The Little Black Book of Catharsis – complete with handy match on the spine

The meaning of catharsis is ‘cleansing’ in Greek, and refers to a literary theory first developed by Aristotle, who believed that cleansing our emotions was the purpose of a good story.The purpose of this book is to write down stories you don’t want to keep, light the match (somewhere safe) and watch it burn.

display inside mental health diaries

The Golden Notebook is about being the author of your own life, the creator of your own possibilities.

It’s about our best and happiest selves – and about becoming your best authentic self. Recognising that you are many people, and have the potential to be who ever you want is part of recognising and collecting all of our best stories and putting all of them together.

Watch out for project news & enfolding stories and texts on Theatre of the Self on Instagram