The Pictou County Personal Empowerment Program...
Mental Health Awareness in Theatre Form
The national award winning Park Bench Players are coming to Pictou County for a special three-run showing of their production, “With a Little Help From My Friends”. It is a production they have staged more than 50 times in halls throughout Nova Scotia and as far afield as Vancouver, BC.
The play is an entertaining tool to help educate, build mental health literacy and reduce stigma. The performances are made more poignant with a cast made up entirely of people who live with mental illness.
Speaking on behalf of the troupe, Executive Producer Verna MacDonald says the play works on many levels, by challenging stereotypes and changing attitudes of the audience and at the same time improving the health and wellbeing of the cast.
“The script was developed from the cast’s lived experiences and the themes of the play support patient safety and demonstrate the many blessings of friendship, courage and hope as vital to recovery and survival. It emphasizes and demonstrates that those who live with mental illness are so much more than just their illness,” says MacDonald.
“We are so pleased to be able to bring this play with its many important messages to our community,” says Ashlie Cormier, Prevention & Health Promotion Specialist with the Nova Scotia Health Authority. “This effort has been a true collaboration with community partners who care deeply about these issues. I strongly encourage everyone to come to this performance to gain a deeper understanding of what it is like to live with a mental illness and how we can all work together to reduce stigma.”
This event has been made possible with funding support from the Aberdeen Health Foundation, United Way, Chignecto Central Regional School Board, Holiday Inn Express Stellarton, Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Pictou Central/East and Pictou West Community Health Boards, and Schools Plus Nova Scotia.
Two performances will be staged for students. An evening show for the general public will be at North Nova Education Centre on April 13 at 7pm. Admission is free but donations will be gratefully accepted to help keep the show on the road. Tickets are required since there is limited seating and are available at United Way, 342 Stewart Street, New Glasgow, or by calling (902) 755-1754. The evening is expected to be entertaining, educational and inspiring.
Photo: The cast of the national award-winning Park Bench Players look forward to presenting their play, ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ for Pictou County audiences. Back row (L to R): Catherine Tetu, Stacey Septon, and Mike Martell with the bike. Front row (L to R): Louise Hall, Fran Nunn, Patrick Chisholm seated on the bench.