Creative Scotland supports Freedom of Mind
A huge thank you to Creative Scotland who awarded us the Open Project award of £15,000! This will enable us to keep the Freedom of Mind choir running for 2 more years with our choir leader Kim Edgar and the choir are thrilled!
You can read more about how we’re ‘Changing Lives Through Singing’ and the award on the Creative Scotland website.
14/07/2017 at 1:55 pm
Being Frank Reviewed
FDAMH’s mental health drama ‘Being Frank’ provided an emotional journey of learning for audiences at The Macrobert Arts Centre and Behind the Wall during May.
Janet Crawford was with the drama group for their last performance and offers up this view from back and front of stage.
“I came along to see the rehearsal and to catch some of the action and the mood which accompanies such a creative and thought provoking piece as ‘Being Frank’.
“The group have worked on a basis of having some characters portrayed by more than one member, dependant on performances, and this shows the sterling confidence which they display in both the on and off-stage work which they do. Whilst eleven members took to the stage proper, another group attended to stage direction, props, lighting, timing and management, all supported by Emily Stewart, the Arts Coordinator within FDAMH.
“The Drama Group ‘team’, as they certainly show, work well together during rehearsals, sharing their excitement and keeping each other feeling reassured and supported.
“At final checks I can see and hear last minute nerves being soothed by laughter and friendship, as costumes and make-up are completed. The audience start to file in, and the room fills with chatty anticipation, by those keen to support their family and friends by attending this evening.
“The cast assemble on stage and open the performance with some brief individual introductions about themselves, which is very brave as the room is pretty full. The discussion is honest and lays open the issues which the members deal with in their daily lives including Anxiety, Depression, Bullying, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar, Aspergers and Schizophrenia. The audience listen attentively and you can sense the respect being shown for such openness from the cast.
“Being Frank opens with Frank apparently alone on stage, sitting in his living room, but his ‘black dog’ of depression sits close mocking his very existence, throwing “why does she bother with you?” at Frank as he looks at a picture of his girlfriend. Frank goes on to attempt suicide and the drama deals with the impacts on Frank and the people around him. His friends initially are unsure of what to say to him, he is as uncomfortable with their visits. His parents struggle to deal with his situation and his mother can’t bear the involvement of a mental health professional in her son’s life. However, with support, Frank recovers slowly, but when he ventures out with his friends he is meanly accosted by an acquaintance; his friends beat back the verbal assualt, much to the delight of the audience, who clap and cheer their support.
“Frank’s CPN, tells him again how far he’s come, and then remembers, that FDAMH had asked her to check with him as to whether he’d take the lead in a new play. Frank jumps up and says I could never do that…. But of course he just has…….
“This play does not shrink from examining some of the uncomfortable issues and challenges relating to overcoming a depressive illness and the suicide attempt which Frank made. The cast were very very strong and the audience saw a work which would have stretched their emotions as much as their understanding. The laughter, clapping and cheering certainly echoed the delight of the audience and the drama group members at just how well the evening went”.
29/05/2017 at 11:24 am
Choir members share words for ‘Tightrope’
On a bright Spring morning we gathered at The Kelpies in Falkirk to support our Freedom of Mind Choir leader Kim Edgar, with the filming of a video for her song ‘Tightrope’, from her latest album ‘Stories Untold’.
Sixteen fantastic members of the choir took part in sharing a word which held particular personal resonance, to accompany Kim’s lyrics:
“One day I’ll be brave
Let loose these words I save
Sing aloud exactly how I feel….”
As Kim herself explains, “The idea behind the song Tightrope is that sometimes it takes a lot of courage to share how we are feeling, so it was great that so many Choir members were willing to share their feelings for this music video, which I hope will raise awareness of FDAMH and the services they offer to help ‘shed light in a dark place'”.
The choir members were very happy to take part in this exciting morning’s filming, and were very brave and articulate in their choice of words. Kim’s music video will be released in June.
29/05/2017 at 10:31 am
Find our Poems
Thanks to funding from the Royal Bank of Scotland, we were able to run another creative writing group. The group worked with tutor Andy Manders for 8 weeks finding their own unique voices.
The culmination of their effors was to create poems to become ‘found poems’ on a special installation in an area known as the Poetry Garden within the Secret Wood at The Falkirk Wheel.
The group enjoyed working with Gary from Bonnywood (a wood crafts producer, based in Bonnybridge) to extracts from their poems for the garden. Gary showed group members how to put their pieces onto especially created wooden plaques which were then inscribed using a technique called ‘ Pyrography’ ( Wood Burning).
Each piece has now been varnished and carefully placed within the beautiful location of the Secret Wood, at The Falkirk Wheel. This is an area maintained by The Scottish Waterways Trust and groups of young people gaining employability skills by working alongside the Trust.
We hope you enjoy going to find them!
29/05/2017 at 10:12 am
Be Inspired by Being Frank
“Brave, Inspirational, Brilliant” The team behind the return of Being Frank have received fantastic reviews from their first audience at Stirling’s Macrobert Centre.
Being Frank is an original play written by FDAMH’s Media Group with support from renowned local writer and film-maker Katie White. The story of mental health crisis and recovery is constructed from real life experiences and threaded through with the cast’s creative reactions to their experiences of life affected by emotional and mental distress.
One of our cast says “I want people to know more about poor mental health and I want to inform people who don’t know what it is and how you can get support”. Indeed the whole team are passionate about using Being Frank to broaden understanding and have chosen to include a Question and Answer session at the end of the play adding an extraordinary opportunity for members of the audience to pose questions to the cast about their experiences of mental distress.
When asked how they found it so easy to talk openly about their mental health one cast member revealed “No one was very keen on disclosing pieces of themselves and their illnesses and how they cope — or didn’t cope — at the beginning. It took time and a lot of trust which has been built through friendship, understanding and unconditional positive regard.”
Questions to the cast included asking them how they coped with taking part in something as anxiety-inducing as a performance. In response it was evident that whether excitement or nerves, the important point for the group is overcoming the challenges to get their messages on mental health across. This is something they can feel confident in achieving with comments such as “fabulous way to lift taboo and spread understanding” and “thank you so much for educating me” being just some of the many positive responses from the audience.
FDAMH’s Activities Coordinator, Emily Stewart, says “I couldn’t be more proud of the group. They have overcome their anxieties about performing and bravely allowed themselves to be completely open to an audience of people about their own experience of mental health. They have hit home the importance of how we as a community can dispel stigma and educate people about mental health and I am honoured to work with them.”
You still have a chance to see a second production of Being Frank at the Macrobert, Stirling on the 9 May 2017 at 2pm. Tickets are free but space is limited so book online now at the Macrobert Arts Centre or phone 01786 466666.
FDAMH would like to thank everyone involved and all that are generously supporting Being Frank with time, space and posts.
Tag: Activities, Events, FDAMH
07/04/2017 at 12:26 pm
Relaxing fun with clay in Bean Row
‘Tabbers’ have been delighting in bringing out their creativity with clay at Falkirk’s Bean Row Pottery.
Our Third Age Befriending Group tried their hands at both coil and pinch pot techniques to create plates and bowls. The vast majority of the group had never tried ceramics before and were both delighted and impressed with their capabilities.
After making the work, our group glazed and decorated their pieces, which were then fired by Susan, who runs the Pottery. We’d like to thank Susan for providing the fun, relaxed and creative classes and letting some of our clients try out something entirely new, with great results.
Tying out pottery for the first time, Margaret said “I love the feel of the clay, it’s rather nice. I haven’t ever tried this before and really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see the results and how the colours look.”
Tabber Fay said ”I’ve tried this many many moons ago and I’m thrilled at trying it again. It’s really relaxing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks.”
We were so impressed with Susan’s wonderful classes and her great approach to her students, that FDAMH has booked up more sessions with The Bean Row Pottery later in the summer.
Tag: Activities, Befriending
28/03/2017 at 12:57 pm