The Empathy Roadshow by Sarah Woods
Following a period of research around empathy, including interviewing the neuroscientist Christian Keysers, Sarah wrote a 30 minute one-woman interactive show, The Empathy Roadshow, which toured community groups in Canterbury and Swale in July 2013. Following each performance, she interviewed people gathering more stories and experiences along the way. Incorporating these interviews, Sarah created a longer version of the show, premiering it at The Marlowe Theatre Studio in September 2013. From her research Sarah identified a number of key themes around empathy – ‘feeling someone else’s pain’, imitation and learning, and perspective taking (amongst others), and created a performance that juxtaposed a wider scientific narrative with personal, everyday stories.
I just wanted to send a belated thank you for organising such a wonderful event on Saturday evening. I didn’t really know what to expect, and after using all my willpower not to faint in the first section (stories of trampolines and belly button piercing are not for the squeamish) I relaxed into the evening, so much so that I was singing my heart out at the end. What a unique, moving and warm experience – I have been thinking about it ever since. Only People United could have carried it off with such generosity of spirit! Thank you.
Karen Eslea, Head of Learning, Turner Contemporary
Sarah has subsequently toured the show, performing it at Arts Admin’s Toynbee Studios and at the Empathy and Compassion conference at the Southbank. We have also been lucky enough to host Sarah and Christian Keysers as part of our Living Rooms programme.
Sarah Woods and Richard Gott (filmmaker on the project) will be creating a film of The Empathy Roadshow in 2014 to act as a catalyst for further conversations around empathy.