So many exciting things are happening here at Theatre of Minds at the moment:
- Our crowdfunding page has had so much support and we have almost reached our target – and any money we make over that target will join the pot being donated to Young Minds at the end of the project.
- We have begun to plan the piece we will perform and it has started to take shape. We aren’t giving too much away yet, but last Saturday afternoon saw the casting taking place with paper and postit notes on my bedroom floor.
- Meetings are happening left, right and centre with everyone involved in the project: Marketing, cast and crew, Trestle Theatre – it is all go!
My latest meeting was with Jane, one of the founders of the charity OLLIE (One Life Lost Is Enough). The foundation has been set up by three parents who sadly lost their children to suicide, to help reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and prevent other parents suffering the way they have.
OLLIE are raising money to send teachers and other professionals who work with young people on the ASIST training course. ASIST stands for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and helps people to identify warning signs of suicidal behaviour and develop relationships with those people in order to try and protect them. Many schools in the St Albans and Watford have already signed up to send staff on this course through OLLIE and they are in contact with many more to help support young people suffering from hidden mental illnesses and everyone around them. Stuart Falconer (the chariman of the OLLIE Foundation) explains much more eloquently what they are trying to do in this video.
The work that OLLIE are doing for our community is bringing something positive out of an enormous tragedy. The piece that we are going to create through Theatre of Minds is all about how mental illness can affect anyone – even the people you would never expect to be suffering – and the OLLIE foundation has a very similar message at its core. Sadly each of the three families at the heart of this foundation have lost someone very close to them, and never saw it coming. Their statements on their website speak of what a shock it was because their children seemed so happy on the outside. Mental illness is everywhere and Theatre of Minds is our way of trying to combat the mask that people hide behind.
Meeting with Jane was very insightful. As OLLIE is such a new foundation in our local area, I was able to pick up on lots of new things that we should be thinking about for our project. Jane has also very kindly agreed to be a part of the project herself and will be around during our rehearsals and performances bringing some outside knowledge to the table.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at The OLLIE Foundation for the work they are doing, and specifically for supporting us in our project. Our meeting was very valuable and I certainly took a lot away from it. We are looking forward to working with you more in the months to come.