We are Unhinged Creations, a fledgling theatre company founded at the University of Warwick. This year we're taking our first play, Phantom Pain, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Phantom Pain is a new play written by John Servante - the play promotes mental health awareness and is produced, directed and performed by members of the company.
During his time at university, John suffered with mental health issues – chronic depression and severe anxiety. As a result of the stigma that surrounds this John set out, through Unhinged Creations, to create artistic responses to mental illness. We hope these will be socially responsible pieces which help to raise awareness about mental health issues and in the long term the company hopes to afford creative opportunities to individuals suffering with mental illness.
Phantom Pain follows the lives of a group of people as they come to terms with the suicide of one of their friends, James, and explores the various responses people have to suicide, seeking to dispel some of the notions people hold about mental illness. Having already had a successful run at the University of Warwick (leading to the National Student Drama Festival to positively review it as a “strange, touching, poignant piece of theatre”), it is to be performed at Theatre 2, The Space@Northbridge, between 11th and 16th August. After each performance, collections will be held in the lobby for the mental health charity Mind, as the play is in aid of the charity.
Unfortunately, as the play seeks to raise awareness about mental health issues, which include suicide, certain avenues are closed to us for fundraising (especially funding through any religious groups). The controversial nature of the text also makes public sponsorship problematic, as people are uncomfortable with supporting artistic responses to suicide and suicidal thoughts. This is somewhat distressing: one in four people each year will suffer with a mental health issue and the leading cause of death in males of our age group is suicide. In short, this taboo subject desperately needs to be talked about!
Risks and challenges
Financial concern for the production as well as the cast and crew is our major challenge. However, we obviously also face the challenges of securing an audience once we're up in Edinburgh as well as managing to raise money for Mind.
We plan to aggressively market our show in Edinburgh. We hope the piece will speak for itself and leave audiences with much to discuss as they leave the theatre, but getting people to come and see a show which tackles our subject matter is very difficult. Our plan is to showcase select scenes which would be appropriate and respectful. We also hope, through social media and flyering, to give insight in to what it's like to work on a project about mental illness and to spread our enthusiasm for the issues the play seeks to discuss.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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