Meet the talented cast of a new powerful show aiming to raise awareness of mental health
Actors from South Tyneside are among a group of talented people hoping to destigmatise the battle tmen face with mental health when they take part in a new musical.
My Mental Breakdown: A Musical is a new production which aims to portray the struggle many encounter when dealing with their mental health and hopes to encourage discussion of the issue.
Funded by LNER and written by Maxwell Kingdom, the show will be performed at The Exchange in North Shields on Friday and Saturday.
It tells the story of a young man who is unable to express his emotions because of the society’s view that ‘men don’t cry’.
It takes the audience on a journey of his thoughts and feelings as he battles with his mental health and bipolar disorder, raising awareness of the need for a more holistic approach to mental health.
Emily Palmer-Giles, 25, from Chichester, South Shields, is the show’s producer.
She said: “I have had my own battles with mental health over time and a lot of my family and friends have.
“I wanted to be involved in the show as I wanted to spread the message that there needs to be a focus on mental health.
“A lot of men don’t feel able to talk about their feelings as they are concerned they will come across as weak or feminine.
“But we want to show how it’s OK for men to struggle and have these feelings.”
Actor Bethan Amber, 24, from Harton, is the show’s assistant director and also plays the part of the lead character’s mother. She also voices some of the different emotions experienced by the lead character throughout his battle with depression.
She said: “I am hoping the show will spark conversation and encourage people to speak out about their experiences with mental health.”
The production features a live band who alongside the acting cast will perform a range of original songs that help to tell the story.
The cast also includes Afnan Prince Iftikhar, 30, from North Shields, Scott Peel, 28, from Gateshead, Kitty Parkins, 19 from Jarrow.
Maxwell Kingdom, 25, said: “We want people to see that this isn’t just people being lazy and dramatic, this is a serious and real thing.
“I wanted to physically put on sage how it emotionally feels to go through, how this is the reality of living with mental health, that this happens and that we need to talk about it.”
Audiences are warned that there are themes of mental illness, suicide and self harm, so the show is recommended for those aged 16 plus.
Tickets are £10 and £8 concession, and can be bought from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/theexchangeMoney raised from ticket sales will be going to the mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).