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FRINGE '04: Ground Zero - MAD about Pride

Media release
9 January 2004
Ground Zero: MAD about Pride

A world premier. Judd Wilkie (a Wellington character), meets Bob Dylan, travels to Bali and tours also to the interior subconscious world of diverse reality.

Much of the literature around mental health has focused on the victim status of ‘mad’ people. MAD Pride™ on the other hand celebrates madness largely from the perspectives of people labelled with mental illness who refuse to be classed as victims. It asserts the rights of ‘mad’ people without pleading for them, in the belief that we should not push meekly for minor concessions, but instead change the world into a fit place for us to live in.

Mad Pride is set to become the first great civil liberties movement of the new millennium. Over the last century, those asserting their rights and self-determination in the fields of race, gender and sexuality forward made giant strides, but ‘mental health’ issues failed to keep pace. This is set to change.

Madness is as much to do with ‘sex, drugs and rock’n’roll’ than with the “long, echoing corridors” described repeatedly by survivors. And while of course, this is far from being the whole truth, it is mindful of the tactics necessary to implant Mad Pride into public consciousness as a liberation struggle in its own right.

Mad Pride is not about ‘politically correct-ness’. It’s about reclaiming identity from the dishonest caricatures pushed by the media and by anti-mental health groups.

Ground Zero is a multi-media production of music, slide presentation, comedy and poetry. Ground Zero is produced by MAD Pride™ Tickets can be purchased at the door or by tiketeck


Ends (Bio on next page)


“I want to communicate what it is like to live with mental illness and to provoke discussion about how best to support people into mental health,” says Pearson who became involved in the New Zealand mental health sector some years after his own experience of using mental health services.

Pearson has worked as a self employed musician from the mid 1980’s. He toured two shows in the 1990’s, one being a tribute to the songs of Bob Dylan supported by regional arts councils across New Zealand.

Arana’s music single “I’m just a little mad” was written from the perspective of people with mental illness and it received airplay in 2000 on national radio and some commercial stations. He released a piano C.D. of original music in 2003.

He has performed throughout New Zealand, and also in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gloucester and London.

“One in five New Zealanders will experience mental illness at some time in their lives. So if it’s not you it will be someone you know. My experience and insight may break down barriers of misunderstanding,” says Pearson who used to work for the Mental Health Commission. Currently he is pursuing his creativity through the arts, publishing and training. He is the Australasian coordinator for Mad Pride.


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