Did you know... today is World Mental Health Day?

Posted on 10 October 2012

World Mental Health Day raises awareness about mental health issues and those living with mental health issues.

Over the past 12 months the Belgrade Theatre’s Community & Education Company have been working on the Creative Gymnasium project, which uses Arts to promote health and wellbeing.

Creative Gymnasium worked with 3 existing Belgrade Youth Theatre Groups (Acting Out, Senior Youth Theatre and the Black Youth Theatre) and introduced 2 new groups to the Belgrade; an over 50’s group and a group of young mothers based at a support unit in Coventry.

During workshops participant’s began to discuss health and well being issues that affect them, their peers and the family. The issues were diverse and using the performing arts techniques they had been taught, they began to develop work aiming to raise awareness of these issues.

The Senior Youth Theatre devised Ministry of Meh, a politically relevant production about the abolishment of the NHS and the effect that it would have upon the UK. The Black Youth Theatre explored the stories of people HIV and AIDS in Coventry in their production Close to Home and the Acting Out group addressed important topics such as memory loss, the effects of drugs and alcohol on mental well being and issues affecting young carers in Truth or Dare.

An educational film, Under Pressure, was developed by the Young Mother’s groups which was designed to be an open and honest reflection of what it is like to be a young parent in today’s society. The Over 50’s group performed Shine On, which compared ageing to nature and the seasons. The production also featured a story of dementia and the impact of the disease upon the individual and the family.

Following the Shine On production, the Belgrade hosted a Symposium with Age UK and Coventry University to evaluate the work of the project upon health and well being, which found that being involved in projects like Creative Gymnasium has a positive effect on individuals health and well being and can improve their life as a result.

The Creative Gymnasium project was funded by The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Awards for All England. You can find out more about our charitable activities and how you can support the Belgrade Theatre by visiting the Support Us pages of our website.