Hearts, Hands and Hugs:
Healing Trauma Through Performance Art and Poetry
Q & A
Instead of focusing on what we cannot change, we created a performance that focuses on what we can change: ourselves. The Fire Tigers are a performance art duo that create a safe space to talk openly about trauma and the process of healing. The show, entitled "hearts, hands and hugs," includes ten original poems, a dance, a program, a diagram, the book Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma by Peter Levine, audience participation, reflection take home questions and handmade gifts. The process of healing is complicated and different for everyone. However, there are universal experiences everyone can relate to when working through the symptoms of trauma. The Fire Tigers work to normalize these symptoms as a way to inspire an honest conversation about how we all struggle with vulnerability, healthy relationships and self-love. The very act of speaking publicly about the effects of trauma de-stigmatizes it. Each poem is connected to a symbol that is drawn on a white board as the show progresses. Essentially the show is our process of healing through poetry. Sensitive subjects such as rape, emotional abuse and toxic masculinity are discussed in the show, as well as the importance of claiming your voice, bravely sharing who you are and celebrating creativity. One of the most important aspects of the show is the concept of self-care as activism. The Fire Tigers believe that we cannot tackle the big, difficult problems around us unless we also address the very difficult traumas within us. Simply put, the personal is political.
What is the cover charge for the show?
The greatest challenge in manifesting our vision has been financially supporting it. Every show is either free or by donation. We do not want the price of a ticket to deter anyone who may benefit from the show. However, "hearts, hands and hugs" is very dynamic and requires a large monetary investment on our part. Programs, envelopes, take home questions, hand made gifts (which require the book Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma, yarn and paint), posters and flyers for the event, two dozen roses and complimentary healthy snacks for audience members. Any monetary support from grants/the community would help us cover expenses for shows. The only way The Fire Tigers make a profit from our shows is through selling booklets of the ten poems shared in "hearts, hands and hugs." Any extra money we receive from shows would be allocated towards the printing of these booklets and cost of hand binding them together.
Why is your show important?
The Fire Tigers create safe spaces for self-expression. Through the act of sharing our personal stories of pain, isolation and fear, we create a brave space for audience members to experience a simple truth: that they aren't alone in their struggle for connection, acceptance and love. The realization that you are not alone is one of the most important steps towards healing because it changes your perspective on what is possible. The foundational concept of our show is the universality of trauma but also the amazing ability humans have to heal themselves through creativity, therapy, bodywork and hope. Acting as catalysts for personal growth, we inspire people to take responsibility for their own healing. When human beings heal themselves, they engage in the world differently which transforms and impacts the community. Community memberes have called us drama therapists. Flora Lark is now Trauma Informed and Trauma Supportive Certified by the Community Resilience Initiative (www.criresilient.org). In honor of the many body healers and mental health organizations that help create the very support systems we outline in the show, we bring resources from local and regional mental health organizations and body healer specialists. These resources are meant to empower those who come to our show and encourage them on their healing journey.