New play brings PTSD into fo­cus

Star Courier (Surrey & Hants) - - FRONT PAGE -

TWO

The fear of prej­u­dice and judge­ment stops many peo­ple from get­ting help and can de­stroy fam­i­lies and end lives.

First on stage, on Wed­nes­day May 17, Give Me Your Love by lead­ing theatre com­pany Ridicu­lus­mus, is a se­ri­ously funny play in­formed by med­i­cal re­search and real- life tes­ti­monies.

Zach has with­drawn into a card­board box in his kitchen. His friend Leuan at­tempts to de­liver him a cap­sule of MDMA ( ec­stasy) as a cure for his post- trau­matic stress.

What fol­lows is a head warp­ing ex­change on pa­tri­o­tism, con­flict and su­per­mar­ket shop­ping that will tickle, move and ap­pal you in equal mea­sure.

Cho­sen as one of the top 10 stand- out per­for­mances to watch at The Brighton Fringe, Shell Shock: The Diary of Tommy Atkins ( Thurs­day June 29) is the in­cred­i­ble per­sonal story of Neil Watkins, Iraq war vet­eran, in the form of a diary. It was adapted for stage by Tim Mar­riott ( fondly re­mem­bered as ‘ Gavin’ in the Brit­tas Em­prire!).

Por­tray­ing one sol­dier’s mov­ing and poignant strug­gle with life back on Civvy Street, it mixes emo­tion­ally charged scenes with light- hearted ob­ser­va­tions of ev­ery­day life – a dreaded trip to IKEA, a seem­ingly mun­dane post of­fice queue, and a ro­man­tic break with his girl­friend! It’s pow­er­ful stuff – emo­tional, at times comic, and yet very real.

Shell Shock is proud to sup­port the char­i­ties Time to Change and Heads To­gether.

The aim of Time to Change is ‘ for ev­ery­one with a men­tal health prob­lem to be free of fear and to have equal op­por­tu­ni­ties in all ar­eas of life’.

In sup­port of Heads To­gether, The Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge and Prince Harry are spear­head­ing the cam­paign to end stigma around men­tal health.

Heads To­gether aims to change the na­tional con­ver­sa­tion on men­tal health and well­be­ing, and is a part­ner­ship with in­spir­ing char­i­ties with decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in tack­ling stigma, rais­ing aware­ness, and pro­vid­ing vi­tal help for peo­ple with men­tal health chal­lenges.

Bar­ney Jeav­ons, di­rec­tor of Alder­shot’s West End Cen­tre, told us: “As part of a sea­son to sup­port men­tal health is­sues in and around mem­bers of the Armed Forces, fol­low­ing the play Scorched in April, we are de­lighted to wel­come Give Me Your Love and Shell Shock to the West End Cen­tre.

“I’ve been a big sup­porter of Ridicu­lus­mus for many years and both plays will help to tackle the stigma sur­round­ing men­tal health prob­lems that lie at the heart of some of our great­est so­cial chal­lenges.”

Tick­ets cost just £ 12, with £ 10 con­ces­sions ( Shell Shock also has a spe­cial £ 6 concession for veter­ans and UK Armed Forces per­son­nel), and can be pur­chased online at www. wes­t­end­cen­tre. co. uk or via the venue’s box of­fice by call­ing 01252 330040.

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