I wrote this on the last night of my tour of performing Sane New World. I could give out a little "whoop" but I'm extremely sad at endings even though I should know that everything ends and that there are always new beginnings after the endings but I don't see that part. (I'm a glass completely empty kind of person.) Even though there have been terrible travels on this tour (tonight I got on the wrong train, got off at the wrong stop, stood hunched alone in freezing cold, waiting for a bus (no heating) to take me somewhere recognizable where I begged someone in the parking lot for a lift to my theatre and luckily, they took pity), I loved doing my show.
So, I'm opening at the Arts Theatre London, on January 19th for a month in the West End. How happy will I be to be in one place for a month? Please come to see me, I don't want to be standing there talking to air.
The theatre is allowing me to do walk-in meetings where the public are invited to come free to sessions on mindfulness. These will happen three times - on 27th January, 3rd February and 10th February from 2-4pm. There will be access to the theatre from 1.30pm. During the sessions you can meet with a team of experts from the charity Sane to get your questions answered and to get help if need be . I'll also have great speakers (for instance, Peter Fonegy, head of the Anna Freud Centre and an expert on mindfulness for kids in schools). My job will be serving cookies and tea.
I've had walk-in centres before - during a run I did in the West End about five years ago and it was fantastic to behold. People were so grateful and relieved to at last make contact with someone who could offer help and an understanding of what they were going through. I remember, there was a woman at the first meeting who said she didn't want to live anymore and by week five she had a gang of friends around her as a support group and you could visibly see her come out of her misery.
After my show closes on February 13th, I'm going to start my walk-in centres in earnest, by piloting them in conjunction with Marks and Spencers who are supporting the scheme as part of their community programme 'Spark Something Good', which is backed by the charity Mind. They are signatories of Time to Change meaning they're dedicated to stopping the stigma and discrimination against any employees who have mental health problems
It has always been my dream to have these centres where you can meet your people and therefore feel less isolated. These meetings aren't necessarily for those with mental illness but for those who feel they're on the cusp of burning out or simply going up the ladder of 'stressdom'. Meeting other people in the same boat is almost half the cure. We are all so ashamed that we have vulnerabilities, all thinking we should be so strong and on top of things. This is so exciting for me to offer these centres; I know if we want to stop the stigma that there is strength in numbers.
Walk in Clinics at the ARTS THEATRE - no booking required
6-7 Great Newport St, London WC2H 7JB
2 - 4pm
January 27 2016
February 3 2016
February 10 2016