The four most repeated words in Shakespeare's canon are: eyes, mind, reason and love. Over 20 years, Kelly Hunter has worked with children and young people with autism to create sensory drama games which explore these words, thereby giving the children access to imaginative play. These games make up the Hunter Heartbeat Method.
“The Hunter Heartbeat Method is a series of sensory games that I have created for people with autism. These games are derived from Shakespeare’s poetic exploration of how it feels to be alive, specifically through his obsession with the eyes and the mind and with reason and love. Those with autism struggle with making themselves understood; the struggle is communicative and sensory. Through focusing on moments in Shakespeare where characters emerge through seeing, thinking and feeling, my games offer people on the spectrum an opportunity to express themselves by exploring eye contact, language skills, spatial awareness, facial expressions and imaginative play." Kelly Hunter
In Deconstructing the Dream, we took some of these sensory games as a starting point for the neuroscience research. Each game involves a structured but playful social interaction which is short and repeatable, creating the ideal stimuli for scientific investigation.
In the performance of Deconstructing the Dream, we placed the games in the context of two 30 minute segments of A Midsummer Night's Dream. We then demonstrated how the games relate to the science and are useful for children on the autism spectrum.
Read our commentary (published in The Stage on 12/5/2019) and reproduced in the pdf below:
Read the review of the performance from: www.theupcoming.co.uk/2019/05/16/deconstructing-the-dream-at-bloomsbury-theatre-theatre-review/