#TimeToTalkDay: Theatre and Mental Health


Today is Time To Talk Day, a day dedicated to encouraging people to talk more openly about mental health. Brilliant!!

Personal and collective wellbeing is a top priority here at Art with Heart and something we have been banging on about a lot over the past year.

In 2017 we spent three months on the road with Declaration, a piece of autobiographical performance about mental health, ADHD and diagnosis.

Making Declaration made us re-evaluate our working practices and forced us to be more honest with one another about what we needed in order to feel mentally healthy. It also challenged us to explore new practices in our approach to audience wellbeing, which led to an exciting collaboration with Mental Health Practitioner, Steph Walker, who curated a beautiful mobile wellbeing room called SPACE for audiences.

We spent much of last year discussing how the theatre industry, particularly the touring circuit, can better support artists, staff, participants and audiences living with mental ill health. We’ve had some great conversations with artists, programmers, venue staff, industry reps and audiences and are committed to keeping these conversations alive.

For Time To Talk Day, we’ve pulled together a collection of our musings on the matter of mental health and theatre from the past year:

Do we need ‘SPACE’? 

Mental Health Practioner Steph Walker considers the need for the arts to take an active stance toward the emotional wellbeing of its audience.

How can theatre accommodate neurodiversity? 

Writer Maddy Costa explores how our touring show Declaration reimagines relationships between artist, venue and audience. This feature links to some other brilliant pieces of writing around art and mental health.

Audience Wellbeing: Freesheets and helplines: how can we do better?

Rachel called a session on audience wellbeing at Devoted and Disgruntled 12 and shares her notes from the group conversation. Run by theatre company Improbable, Devoted & Disgruntled is an ongoing conversation using Open Space Technology, giving theatre and performing arts practitioners the space and time they need to create positive change.

Sarah’s World Mental Health Day Blog

On World Mental Health Day, Sarah shared her experience of touring a production which speaks so honestly about your own.

If you want to join the conversation, drop us a line and we’ll organise a brew!!

Take care of yourselves,

Rachel and Sarah

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