About Us

Our Applied Theatre projects involve performances, workshops, 'invisible theatre' and training.

Many participants have no previous experience.

Over the years we have looked at all sorts of issues.

If there’s conflict there’s a TVO approach to understanding it, from domestic abuse, gangs, tribal conflict, crime, addiction, abuse & homelessness.

We’ve looked both inwards at ourselves, and outwards towards our communities.

We explore every aspect of behaviour in the journey to understanding ourselves and each other.

The aim is to recognise and stop those patterns of behaviour that can be so destructive and understand their origin and triggers.

Each group and individual we have come to meet through training, conferences or performances have enriched our own growth and development.

Where We Started

The idea and understanding of what TVO could offer came out of an exploration of the effects of trauma on survivors of torture in Paraguay, South America.

TVO founder, Dr Jennifer Hartley found that

‘Even though the torture experience was 40 years ago, it had not been talked about so the effect of it was very much still alive and holding them back from getting on with their lives’

This led to 'The Art Of Silence'

Drawing on her training with Augusto Boal and Theatre of the Oppressed as well as ideas of her own, Jennifer created a dynamic, creative response to the survivors.

Running a series of workshops, she helped them piece together what had happened and in the process, developed new understandings and coping mechanisms.

By working as a group and on their individual experiences together, they were able to come to realisations about the past, live in the present and look forward to the future.

‘Powerful emotions will always rise to the surface they can’t be suppressed without doing a lot of personal damage. The TVO workshops helped people deal with enormous personal conflict at their own pace, in their own time and in a safe environment. There was no judgement in the room, which offered freedom.'

And so TVO was created.

Founder Jennifer Hartley’s research on the power of trauma to silence and the effectiveness of drama techniques in giving survivors a voice has become the benchmark of its pioneering applied theatre work, as first noted in 'The Art of Silence'

Jennifer & the original Paraguayan cast of The Art of Silence, Nelson Viveros, Emilio Barreto and technician Alberto Ezquivel (left to right)

She has returned to Paraguay over the last 15 years to develop the work, which ranges from workshops, conferences, plays and a tv series documenting the survivors experiences.

The ability to first of all tell your story, and make the links between what happened and what’s happening in your life now is a human right. Without it you allow people to judge you based on their ideas.

Where We’re Going

Now in our 10th Year we are celebrating a National Lottery Award to continue our work with people experiencing homelessness in south Wales.