The alchemy of applied theatre and mindfulness

Sankofa Storytelling Arts introduces the exciting format of applied theatre

Sankofa Storytelling Arts is the newest arts and education organisation flying the flag for an innovative non-blanket approach to the enrichment and supplementary landscape. The secret? Our distinct pedagogy of adapting applied theatre and Sankofa principles.

The definition of Sankofa loosely translates as ‘go back in the past, learn and retrieve knowledge in order to guide the future’.

Distilling applied theatre to foster and support critical and courageous thinking during a child’s educational journey is distinctive in that at the heart of our applications are the routes to wellness and mindfulness as an innate and constantly developing feature.

Applied theatre is an exciting format – sometimes interchangeable with applied drama or social drama – and is primarily a transformative and transparent process whereby the issues that are raised are teased and explored by and for participants.

The definition of Sankofa loosely translates as ‘go back in the past, learn and retrieve knowledge in order to guide the future’

One of the founding fathers, Augusto Boal, applied this form of theatre/drama to engage and create a safe space for ideas to be shared, heard and often interrogated.

Our version is aligned with the current demands of children and young people with navigating their academic journeys and the nuanced and often demanding aspects that arise from it.

As a startup organisation utilising our combined 20+ years of formal education, and applied and youth theatre behind us, we offer a range of themes to address issues relating to success and what it looks like.

How is it modelled academically and long term? How is failure a stepping stone towards achieving a desired outcome?

How do we balance the feelings of disappointment, being overwhelmed, high expectations (to name a few) and the subsequent pathways towards feeling in control and discovering options.

Using lessons (literally) learned and experienced by cultures from around the world – Sankofa – and applying or not applying them to everyday situations, our storytelling and participatory drama offers the empowering and collaborative skills that lean towards:

Developing creative skills

Negotiation and confidence skills

Empathy and leadership qualities

Creative and critical-thinking skills

Reflective and evaluation skills

The workshops and courses combine either a craft or expressive art exercise to encourage deeper learning and are used as a reference tool to illustrate self-development within a non-judgemental space. One of our favourite quotes is: “It is not the place of the theatre to show the correct path, but only to offer the means by which all possible paths may be examined,” — Augusto Boal.

The Schools and Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill published on 14 January 2020 amplifies the need for children to have access and engage with resources that contribute to our future entrepreneurs, leaders, freelancers and CEOs.

We understand the needs of senior leaders within the academic landscape must continue to be addressed with regards to wellbeing. What we offer are opportunities for schools and parents to develop the wellness issues further using our methodology in order to empower children to translate anxieties and distill them into a paradigm shift towards tangible and positive change.

Top five benefits of mindfulness drama

1. Provides a safe space to engage with challenging issues

2. Promotes resilience by way of empathy and problem-solving

3. Offers a zen mindspace as an immediate go to tool

4. Gives confidence to try new ideas

5. Contributes to the transferrable skills of discipline, focus and reflection.

For bookings, please contact Vanessa Browne, creative director, on 07488 253 433, email or visit

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