Challenging show of Machynlleth woman’s mental health journey at Arts Centre

Thursday 28th April 2022 1:42 pm
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Bethan Dear
Machynlleth-based theatre maker and artistic director of Jackdaw theatre, Bethan Dear, will finally perform a show she has been working on for the last seven years about her mental health journey (Arts Centre )

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Machynlleth-based theatre maker and artistic director of Jackdaw theatre, Bethan Dear, will finally perform a show she has been working on for the last seven years about her mental health journey.

How To Be Well In A World That Is Sick? will be performed at Aberystwyth Arts Centre this Wednesday-Friday, 27-29 April.

Funded by Arts Council Wales, the project is reaching completion with the support of a powerhouse of five other talented local artists.

Harriet Wallis has been leading on the design and realisation of staging and lighting, Dr Caitlin Shepherd, artist and educator, and Jess Herman, artistic director of Sexual Health Circus have provided creative mentorship throughout the process, Heledd Wyn has created film projected throughout the show, and celebrated local musician Gwilym Morus-Baird has composed an original soundtrack that is woven throughout the piece.

The show throws a light on mental health and the impact of trauma and sexual and domestic violence.

Bethan has used her own struggles and mental health recovery as the subject material to create a show which is shaping up to be powerful, honest, brave, and joyful.

When asked who would enjoy the show, Bethan said: “So I’ve been asking myself a lot, who is this for?

“I am making it for other survivors of domestic abuse or sexual violence regardless of gender, for other people identifying as women, for anybody and everybody who’s ever struggled with their mental health.

“It is for anybody that has specific experience of these things, because that community feels underrepresented in our culture and those experiences still feel taboo.

“There are a lot of ways that our culture internally and externally sensors those conversations.

“So, the show is definitely for people who have experienced those things.”

Bethan recognises that this could be challenging for audiences.

“You don’t know what this show could raise for people, audience care is built into everything about the show, the space has been designed to allow people to leave easily and trigger warnings and grounding exercises are built into the show.”

Bethan has carefully worked with material which avoids detailed descriptions or depictions of traumatic experiences. Sign posting to further support is readily available. The wild west Wales landscape has been a key support in her recovery

“Being in nature has been essential in my recovery and one of the reasons I left London and came back to mid Wales when I became sick,” Bethan explained.

That relationship has been intricately woven into the show through stunning projected film captured by celebrated Welsh film maker Heledd Wyn.

Original music and vocals, composed and recorded in Welsh by renowned folk musician, Gwilym Morus-Baird, add much to this piece.

The show is on Wednesday-Friday at 7.45pm, with a matinee on Friday at 2.30pm.

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