AF: We are going to have to cut those lines from your play about people being in institutions.
AF: We don’t have them here in New Zealand.
– Adam Fresco, Director of the Rethink Theatre Challenge to me, October 7th, 2010
Last month I traveled to New Zealand because a one-act play I’d written won an international playwriting contest. The contest, sponsored by Mind and Body Consultants, was funded by their annual RETHiNK Grant and was part of the national “Like Minds, Like Mine” campaign, a publicly funded program aimed at reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.
Ten one-acts were chosen to be performed on World Mental Health Day, October 10th (10 plays, 10 minutes, on the 10th day of the 10th month 2010.) The contest drew entries from around the world, with winners from New Zealand, China, England, Scotland and the United States. Each play had to reflect an aspect of mental health that reflected reducing stigma or discrimination.
Taimi Allan, an actress and mental health advocate leads Mind and Body’s Like Minds, Like Mine team. Allan was deeply involved in every level of the production and said that “without a doubt, this was the most exciting project I have ever been a part of. It mixed my two passions in life, performance and the promotion of mental health, and furthermore I believe it sets the benchmark for projects that seek radical social change.”
She was right.
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