‘I dare’: experiences of young adults at risk participating in a one-year inclusive-theatre project in Norway
Introduction: In Norway one of three young people drop out of high school. For young people to be on the outside of education or work may develop feelings of isolation and lack of control, resulting in alienation from both authority and community that may further marginalize them. Some develop mental-health problems.
Aim: The aim of this study was to describe and interpret the experiences of young persons neither in school nor working who participated in a one-year inclusive-theatre project. The research questions were as follows: How do the participants describe their experiences with inclusive theatre related to self-image? How does participating in inclusive theatre affect their social belonging and participation?
Method: Three multi-stage focus-group interviews with participants were carried out. The data material was analysed with thematic content analysis.
Findings: The main theme was ‘a changed self-image’ and four sub-themes emerged: ‘increased self-confidence’, ‘increased ability to cope’, ‘responsibility’, and ‘connectedness to others and society’.Conclusion: Through increased self-esteem, the participants explored opportunities to form their own development and to find a way to pursue their goals as part of society. They dared to meet the challenges which had provided them with good experiences and a more meaningful life. They went through a social process of empowerment where there was the recognition, promotion, and strengthening of their ability to satisfy their own needs, involving a mobilization of the necessary resources in order to feel in control of their own lives. They began to believe in a future with education, work, and friends.
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