Contact!Unload: Military Veterans, Trauma, and Research-based Theatre

Book Cover for Contact!Unload: Military Veterans, Trauma, and Research-based Theatre edited by Belliveau and Lea

Edited by

Dr. George Belliveau

Professor at the University of British Columbia


Dr. Graham W. Lea

Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba

This book is a call to action to responsibly address the sometimes difficult transition many soldiers face when returning to civilian life. It explores the development, performance, and reception of Contact!Unload, a play that brings to life the personal stories of veterans returning home from deployment overseas.

The play showcases an arts-based therapeutic approach to dealing with trauma. To bring Contact!Unload to life, researchers in theatre and group counselling collaborated with military veterans through a series of workshops to create and perform the play. Based on the lives of military veterans, it depicts ways of overcoming stress injuries encountered during service. This action-based artistic initiative, coupled with a therapeutic program, served as a successful model for military veterans transitioning to civilian life.

This book, which includes the full script of the play, offers academic, artistic, personal, and theoretical perspectives from people directly involved in the performances of Contact!Unload as well as those who witnessed the work as audience members. Both the play and the book serve as a model for using arts-based approaches to mental health care and as a powerful look into the experiences of military veterans.

This innovative volume will appeal to arts-based researchers, clinicians, mental health practitioners, military personnel, and veterans who want to explore alternative, arts-based therapeutic approaches to trauma, as well as those interested in the military experience.

Belliveau, G., & Lea, G. W. (Eds.). (2020). Contact! Unload: Military Veterans, Trauma, and Research-based Theatre. UBC Press.