Four different stories in Four different places, each developed from the ‘local’ told through Kathak and physical theatre for a compelling exploration of mental health.
A unique regional project exploring and giving voice to issues of mental health in communities when there is no word to describe it, where shame and social stigma follow it, where no one is willing to acknowledge it…
This new work uses the south Asian dance Kathak as the core narrative collaborating with physical theatre and live music to tell the stories which the Company developed in marginalised and disenfranchised communities across four regions – Woking, Birmingham, Luton and Tower Hamlets – working with women who are beginning to confront the social stigma of mental health – incorporating their real life experiences. Each venue will have a story tailored from the ‘local’ vernacular and dynamic.
The project is developed from workshops supported from Feminist Review Trust and Postcode Lottery.
“One sentence kept creeping up no matter whereever I went to workshop The Hum in My Heart - “I can’t do it” followed by a total break down and giving up – it’s become their default, as if “I can’t do it” is acceptable and a norm for them. It used to anger me initially, directing my anger towards them but as I spent more time with them, I realised their ‘default’ is the result of suppressed emotions often from suffering traumas at some point in their lives, which has never been spoken about, acknowledged, or dealt with; it went deeper than I could contemplate. Most often they suffer in silence - such as post natal depression, sexual abuse, isolation, lack of understanding of the culture they live in, faith based teachings, language barrier etc. More often they don’t even know or able to articulate until it is too late. Most of them live a sheltered life almost ‘imprisoned’ by their circumstances, cultural obligations and in some cases controlling families/ husbands.
But it’s not all bleak - through my engagement I discovered how creative they are - from making beautiful clothes, arts and crafts, weaving, cooking to painting and drawing - furthermore they amazed me in their willingness to dance and sing in the workshops, freeing themselves from the prohibition but which is engraved in their cultural past”- Amina Khayyam