Plays to raise money for mental health

A double bill of new writing from Eno Theatre about mental illness aims to raise money for charity, raise awareness and get people talking

actor, mental health, Cardiff

The minimalist approach is important to “Writing to Reach you”: “It’s about the person and the character and the writing more than it is about the set,” writer Gareth Ford-Elliot tells AltCardiff. (Photo credit: Nerida Rose Bradley)

A double bill of new writing which will raise money for mental health charities is to be showcased this month.

Unspoken, a combination of two original plays by Katie Ryde and Gareth Ford, will be performed in the Atrium from 5-7 December.

The plays, Writing to Reach You and Leeches, will be performed back to back and tackle the individual experience of mental illness and its outward effect on family relationships.

Eno theatre, the year old Cardiff-based theatre company behind the event, is giving all ticket proceeds to Hafal and Mind Cymru.

Hafal is a welsh charity managed by people who have experienced mental illness. It aims to help others recover through empowerment and self-management. Mind provides sufferers with information about support services.

Both charities hope to normalise conversations about mental health. Danny Muir, Eno Theatre’s freelance producer, hopes the plays relay the message that talking about mental illness is vital to recovery.

depression, mental health, theatre

Writing to reach you is about Travis. It is his 21st birthday and he’s spent it alone in his bedroom. Travis reminisces on his life as we learn about his depression. (Photo credit: Nerida Rose Bradley)

He said: “We want to reach people who need to be reached. As prevalent as mental health problems are, people don’t really talk about it. And they should talk about it.”

Danny added that the plays show people experiencing problems and their attempts to get help. “This impacts them and their ability to function as a member of society,” he said. He hopes the show will inspire people to seek support.

Tim Foley writer of The Dogs of War, a 2015 play about mental illness in two generations of a family, also believes theatre has the power to catalyse much needed conversations.

He told The Stage: “The key to breaking down those barriers is talking. “Theatre can do that; it can break down the social barriers and fear of talking about something like this.”