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Entry call for arts festival that rethinks mental illness

Media Release
March 15, 2012
Entry call for international arts festival that rethinks mental illness

A one act play? A short film? Dance pieces, performance poems, visual art or anything in between – the entry call is open for the Like Minds “Big reTHiNK” Challenge. Organisers at Mind and Body Consultants and the Mental Health Foundation are looking for any kind of creative “script” that reduces stigma surrounding mental illness, in any of the mediums outlined above as well as performers, directors and event organisers to bring them to life across the globe. Submissions and expressions of interest can be made at www.rethink.org.nz.

The best scripts submitted from all over the world will be chosen for The Big reTHiNK, a 2-hour “mind-altering event” aimed at getting the audience to rethink their perceptions of “madness”.
“We know from past experience that entertainment is a powerful tool in changing attitudes,” says Tami Allan, producer of reTHiNK and Like Minds project leader at Mind & Body. “It allows an audience to safely see themselves in someone else’s shoes.

“The entertainment industry has a large number of high profile professionals willing to share their personal experiences of mental unwellness, and yet the industry itself has such a bad track record of misrepresenting mental illness by perpetuating myths and stereotypes. We’re hoping to turn this around by taking the audience, cast and crew on an emotional rollercoaster ride that has an overriding message of hope.”

Mental Health Foundation Judi Clements says that the experience of mental illness is very human and unique to each individual.

“One of the benefits of multimedia shows like this is that it allows creative use of metaphors for a subject that is chAllanging for many, and allows people to ‘get’ it in their own way. Sometimes even people who experience mental illness find it difficult to explain what they’re feeling to others. Finding an entertaining way to talk about a serious topic can reach wider audiences than more earnest approaches, and we’re proud to be supporting the reTHiNK Challenge for another year.”

The Big reTHiNK will be staged at Auckland ’s newest, most modern performance space, Q Theatre, on Queen Street . The entire space is disability accessible – even the lighting cat-walks, so this really is a project that anyone can volunteer to be part of.

The Big reTHiNK at Q Theatre opens with public performances on the 2nd – 5th of October. A final audience-choice awards charity gala on October 6th will kick off Mental Health Awareness Week and launch a series of multiple reTHiNK events taking place across the globe.

This year’s event follows on from the 24-Hour reTHiNK Theatre Challenge from Titirangi Theatre in 2010 and the reTHiNK Possible Worlds multimedia stage show from The Literatti in 2011, but this year organisers say the message will be spreading even further.

For the first time, expressions of interest are open for organisers to stage satellite events in their own regions and organizers have already signed up from places including Adelaide , Melbourne , Norway , Scotland and New York , so the Like Minds Big reTHiNK is shaping up to be a global event that reaches its widest audience to date.

Additional sponsorship is being sought to fund prizes, venue costs and the publication of The Big reTHiNK scripts as a Like Minds resource for the future.
For more information, visit www.rethink.org.nz

ENDS

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