CMHA Ottawa is delighted to present a Creative Well Theatre Project play during Mental Health Week for the third year in a row. It’s called The Un-Merry-Go-Round and will be performed on Wednesday, May 9 at 2:30 at 1355 Bank St., Suite 401, Boardroom A. Admission is free and tickets are not required.
The Creative Well Theatre Project invites adults living with mental illness to build theatre skills and co-create an original forum theatre play that addresses the stigma attached to mental illness.
The participants in the project, who are members of partner organizations PSO (Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa) and Ottawa Salus, are the actors and co-creators of the show. The Creative Well Collective Facilitator and Director Team, Naomi Tessler (Artistic Director of Branch Out Theatre) & Rebecca Benson (local Ottawa actor and Director), support the participants in the script development process and direct the play. The play is completely derived from the participants’ collective lived experiences of mental illness and poverty.
Says facilitator Naomi Tessler, “To unearth the stories that make up our play, we worked collectively through various theatre methods: storytelling, improvisation, playback theatre and theatre of the oppressed techniques to create a safe container for sharing and re-enacting personal stories.
“From that process we collectively decided on the stories we wanted to include and how we would weave them together into one play told from the perspective of one main protagonist.”
Ms. Tessler put the script together and the group collectively edited the play “until everyone felt like it truly represented the collective voice. The protagonist therefore represents the whole group and each piece of the play is a universal story that the actors imagine will include the stories of audience members and the people in their lives.”
One unique aspect of the play is that the audience can get involved in how the story progresses. The actors present a worst-case scenario play focusing on the stigma of mental illness and the spectators are then invited to step into the action of the play as spect-actors to rehearse resolving the conflicts onstage, scene by scene.
The Creative Well Theatre Project looks forward to sharing The Un-Merry-Go-Round in hopes of raising awareness, uncovering new solutions for old problems and transforming the stigma attached to mental illness and poverty. They are thrilled to be premiering our show at CMHA’s National Mental Health Week.