An inspiring youth group is casting light in a rainbow of colours on mental illness through the prism of theatre.
New am-dram group, Pieces of Me, is the brainchild of Workshop Leader Amber Tither at Burnley Youth Theatre, created for youngsters aged 11 - 18.
Next month they will present an original show of the same, which will ascend the stage in a swirl of comedy and drama.
“It’s a journey from the shadows to the light,” said Amber, “a stylized show which follows the stigma and nonacceptance of mental health.”
The aim is to normalise mental illness and provide hope to both sufferers and their loved ones.
“It’s a way to bring a sensitive subject into mainstream viewing,” Amber added, “a way to showcase the stigma but to also help break it down.”
This unique production blends abstract physical theatre and movement with original spoken word to symbolise the feelings associated with mental illness and offer audiences a realistic taste of it from a safe place.
“Audiences will experience a story which isn’t traditional yet still explores the raw emotions surrounding mental health, in an honest way,” Amber said.
“But the production doesn’t just focus on the darkness, having moments of comedy, sometimes satire, to bring light to something that is often shunned from conversation.”
The play’s metaphorical style depicts the pervasiveness and all-encompassing reach of mental illness.
“Unlike your typical play we decided (cast and director) not to follow a single character’s journey, choosing initials rather than names, to try to show how anyone can be affected.”
And thanks to its honesty, it’s clear this uplifting show has been cathartic for the young actors.
“Every individual cast member has had their own journey. Each has grown so much in confidence and in performance ability, and a group family dynamic has been developed.
“It’s so reaffirming to see a project like this bring strength to all of the cast in more than one way.”
Pieces of Me will be presented on Wednesday at Burnley Youth Theatre, Queen’s Park Road, starting at 7-30pm.
It is suitable for ages 11 and above.
Tickets are priced at £8 for adults, £6 for concessions and £4 for BYT members. Book online by visiting http://burnleyyouththeatre.org
Alternatively, ring 01282 458655 or call into the box office between Monday and Wednesday from 10am to 4pm or this Saturday from 10am to 1-30pm.