circle of trust

The Circle of Trust

At every ODAG session, sitting or standing in a circle, ODAG men and facilitators engage in candid exchanges through check-ins, discussions, peer coaching, theatre exercises and games, challenging rehearsals, revelatory master classes, and individual performances during Third Thursdays.

circle of trust

Requiring trust, honesty, self-disclosure, and mutual respect, the circle of trust depends on confidentiality and safe space conduct.  To maintain a safe space means respecting the minority voice, speaking from a personal standpoint with a recognition of one's own identity and its limits, arguing with ideas not persons, asking questions before making statements about another's experience, speaking only for oneself not for others, cherishing differences, and listening carefully to others.

Enabling participants to confide in one another about anything they wish—difficult family situations, parole hearings, and other challenges to well-being—the circle of trust also provides a forum for discussing controversial current topics, and to consider issues provoked by the plays or rehearsals, with special attention to issues of differential power, race, gender, class, hate language, disability, and forms of injustice and oppression. In addition, the circle is a place to laugh together, praise each others' achievements, applaud family members' successes, and both provoke and celebrate journeys of self-discovery.

The circle of trust is critical to creating and sustaining a theatrical ensemble but is, beyond that, a form of community that has achieved what the men of ODAG call a precious "brotherhood," or a "band of brothers." They cherish that phrase from Shakespeare's  Henry V, performed by one ODAG actor in the "ODAG Swagg" show.

Listen as the men talk about their experience in the circle of trust: