Visual & Performing Arts
Students from Itchen’s Faculty of Visual and Performing Arts are working with Theatre for Life to perform ‘Silent Mind’.
Theatre for Life’s aim behind the ‘Silent Mind’ project is to engage with young theatre makers aged 16-25 years old from disadvantaged backgrounds to create an original theatre piece on Mental Health Prevention.
According to the Southampton City Better Care Plan 2017-2019: ‘Mental health hospital admissions, both for adults and children and young people are high, as is the hospital admission rate for self-harm. Alarmingly, the suicide rate is twice that of the England average, increasing since 2009-11’.
Theatre for Life wanted to create ‘Silent Mind’ in response to these high statistics in the immediate community, supporting their group and audiences with an informative piece on how to manage mental health issues.
The creative journey has been incredibly cathartic as Theatre for Life’s theatre makers have not only explored the transformative world of theatre, but also the importance of wellbeing and mindfulness.
Meditation has become a regular fixture and an important part of their creative process, using visualisation to help retrain negative thought patterns and focus on positive mindsets
Affirmations have also been a huge part of our collaborative process into mental health prevention:
‘I will never forget our session on ‘Gratitude’...the simplest of gratitudes brought such a warmth and feeling of authenticity into the rehearsal room, this was the defining moment when our group truly connected.’ - Michelle Smith (Artistic Director)
‘One thing I’d advise to take away from this piece would be to always be grateful to who you have in life. Throughout this process we have done many coping methods and the concept gratitude really makes you realise how much people mean to you.’ – Joe Green (17)
‘Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others’ - Amara Darbyshire (17)
‘Healing isn't about changing who you are; it’s about changing your relationship to who you are. A fundamental part of that is honouring how you feel.’ - Amber George (17)
The piece is interactive, allowing audiences to participate in coping techniques throughout the dramatic action. This new and innovative approach could be life changing for audiences as Theatre for Life hopes to introduce practical techniques for mental health prevention through this highly engaging and powerful piece of theatre.
Theatre for Life previewed Silent Mind after four weeks of devising as part of the Nuffield Theatre Laboratory scratch evening, receiving constructive feedback about the project.
‘Really powerful, and absolutely should be performed more widely especially with younger audiences, those with lived experience’
‘It acted as a good reminder to be present and use mindfulness’
Theatre for Life hopes Silent Mind not only helps to bring awareness to mental health, but that it also provides some day to day tools in mindfulness and wellbeing that can either be practiced or shared with others to ultimately create the perfect Silent Mind.
They are due to perform at the Plaza Theatre on the 19th May at 7.30 pm as part of Mental Health Awareness week exploring this year’s theme on Body Image.
TICKETS: www.ticketsource.co.uk or at Romsey Visitor Information Centre
Theatre for Life’s final tour is on the 19th, 20th and 21st June at the Nuffield Theatre City at 2.30 and 7.45 pm.
Working in partnership with Itchen Sixth Form College, Heads Up programme at Solent Mind, supported with public funding from Arts Council England and Southampton City Council. Theatre for Life is also working in partnership with the National Youth Theatre Auditions Access Fund launched by actor Hugh Bonneville in 2018.