To research, write, produce and perform a new one-person-play based on lived experience of several people with mental illness.
About the project
Why I am doing this project:
To give people with mental illness a voice
People with severe mental illness very rarely get heard in the public realm. They are often unable to put themselves forward because of anxiety, difficulty in expressing themselves, isolation, lack of social skills and sometimes being shunned and stigmatised by others. People I know repeatedly express the opinion that they cannot talk about their mental illness in public or even to friends and family. They can only speak about it in mental health aware environments.
To educate the public about the reality of mental illness
Although it is improving, there is a lot of ignorance and stigma about mental illness. Often the only mentally ill people in the news are those who have committed violent crime and are accused of being mentally ill. Also, the reality of life with mental illness is rarely seen by most people – the mentally ill are often good at hiding the darkness to protect their loved ones.
Why I am crowdfunding:
Although I have a small grant I need more for the project to have the professional support and to reach the quality that it deserves. I don't want to produce a second-rate show, that would not be fair on the participants or on the audience. Also, the current small budget only allows for one performance in Rugby, but this show deserves to have a wider audience, so this extra funding will pay for performances in three other towns/cities.
The Project Stages:
Part 1: (September/October 2015)Interview people on a one-to-one basis who have or have had serious mental illness of various kinds. Find out what their life is like, the troubles and the joys, and allow them to tell their stories.
Part 2: (October - December 2015)Write a series of monologues/playlets (5 or 6) based on these interviews. Each monologue will represent a different character with a different mental illness. The actor will take on a different persona for each monologue, making changes to costume, speech and way of moving to make unique portrayals.The monologues will be fictionalised to make them as entertaining as possible and to protect the privacy and/or identities of the interviewees.
Part 3: (January - April 2016)To produce and perform these monologues for the public to see.All of the above will be led by Augustus Stephens.The participants who give their time and their stories to the project will be people living in Rugby with severe mental illness of one kind or another.It will allow some people with severe mental illness to see: their experience and knowledge; their tragedy and comedy; expressed in a living, entertaining piece of theatre.
The performances of Altered Minds, Altered Realities will be in Rugby and possibly Leicester, Milton Keynes and London in March and April 2016. There will be post-show discussion about issues raised by the performance where time and space allow.
I already have a grant from Rugby Borough Council.
I am working with Coventry and Warwickshire MIND and Making Space to find participants.
Where the money from CrowdFunding will go (estimate):
- Hire of theatre director: £264
- Remuneration for writing the play: £1,320
- Remuneration for producing and performing: £176
- Hire of venues (outside Rugby): £636
- Publicity: £130
- Total: £2,526
(This expenditure is above and beyond that already earmarked for the Rugby Borough Council grant already received)
Every penny raised will be spent on the project.