The impact of a local writing group on participants has been so profound that it has helped some return to employment and others engage in full time education, as well as forging lifelong friendships.
Created through a collaboration between Perth Theatre, Mindspace and writer Jane Archer, My Life, My Story, My Stage has been delivering free creative writing workshops since November 2021.
Engaging around 30 participants, some of whom have been with the group since the beginning of the project, the twice-weekly sessions give participants the opportunity to work with a professional writer to focus on journey and self-exploration whilst looking after their minds and mental health.
Alice Pearce, Senior Recovery Facilitator from local mental health focused charity, Mindspace Perth & Kinross said:
“Throughout the project we have seen participants come and go and there have been many successes. We have had participants that have moved on from the group and returned to employment after periods of unemployment or absences due to mental ill health, a few participants now engaging in full time education at the local college and several friendships made that are maintained outside of the group. One of our participants has gained a part time job with Perth Theatre and is planning to study theatre production in the near future. He has been a real success story.”
A group participant said:
“Mental (ill) health is a difficult subject/thing to talk about or be around. Here, we knew without having to explain that life was challenging. Putting how you feel down on paper certainly helps to sort out the muddle in one’s head, and get how you feel out there, without being stigmatised in the group.”
Nick Williams, Chief Executive of Perth Theatre and Concert Hall said:
“It’s truly inspiring to see the transformative effect that My Life, My Story, My Stage has had on so many of the participants. At Perth Theatre and Concert Hall we’re committed to reaching out beyond our stages to use the positive power of the arts to improve lives and this project is a shining example of what this can achieve. There are so many local organisations such as Mindspace doing fantastic work in the area, and we are delighted to work with them and those like them to make a real difference to our communities.”
A number of group participants worked together to write The People in the Room, an emotional reflection on what the writing workshops meant to them. Perth Theatre and Mindspace created framed prints of the work and presented them to participants at a recent informal meet-up.
Thursday 9 February 2023