A local production of the national effort This Is My Brave will take place at Concord High School on May 23. The show features area storytellers who will courageously share their experience with mental illness.
“It’s real, raw, unique, inspiring, brave, and yes, some stories have an element of humor,” Lead Producer Ellen Desmond said.
Desmond is the Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator at the N.H. Department of Education. Her resume includes a long list of theatrical accomplishments. But directing This Is My Brave as part of the Mental Health Awareness Month celebration in New Hampshire is unlike any performance she’s ever been part of.
“We have to encourage expression,” Desmond said. “I am in awe of the cast members who are willingly sharing their story in front of strangers in the hope of encouraging others who are struggling with mental illness to seek treatment and see there is a brilliant life on the other side.”
Cast members maintain creative control of their contribution and work in collaboration with the production staff.
“I felt it would mean something if I had taken the broken pieces of myself and shared how I got them and began to glue them back together again. It was by no means an overnight success,” said cast member Beth Starck. “But by asking for help, educating myself, and talking, I slowly emerged healthier than I had ever been. I found this organization at one of the darkest times in my life. It helped me tremendously to know I wasn’t the only one.”
According to the national website, the “mission is to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues by sharing personal stories of individuals living successful, full lives despite mental illness through poetry, essay, and original music, on stage in front of a live audience, through stories submitted and published to our blog, and via our YouTube channel.”
This Is My Brave will be presented May 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Concord High School, 170 Warren St. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at riverbendcmhc.org.