A forum to discuss the effects of representation in theatre on young people’s mental health.

As You Like It production photos_ 2019_2019_Photo by Topher McGrillis _c_ RSC_273577

Monday 20 May 2019
The Studio Theatre, The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon

In response to Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, we are holding a panel discussion with the University of Birmingham to explore the effects of representation in theatre on young people. 

Mental health is increasingly being recognised as a serious issue for young people today. The stories we see, read, and tell in our daily lives help us understand our own and others’ experiences. Such stories told through theatre can be powerful in embodying these experiences but can also present problems in considering whose stories are being told, by whom, and how such representation can affect us.

We want to open up a discussion about how representation of characters in Shakespeare, and in theatre more generally, can affect how young people feel about their own identities, and the effects of this on their mental health. We also want to explore the issues involved in working with 400 year old cultural attitudes and references in Shakespeare in terms of representation of gender, ethnicity, disability, and class (with particular reference to As You Like It and The Taming of the Shrew, both of which are in the current RSC season).

The panel will be chaired by: Professor Matthew Broome, Chair in Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health & Director of the Institute for Mental Health, University of Birmingham. 

Panel members will include:  

  • Dr Niall Boyce, Editor of The Lancet Psychiatry

  • Caroline Horton, Theatre-Maker, University of Birmingham Creative Fellow

  • Stephen Unwin, Theatre Director and Chair of KIDS charity

  • Justin Audibert, Director of The Taming of the Shrew

  • Charlotte Arrowsmith, Actor in As You Like It and The Taming of the Shrew

  • Holly Moyse, Youth Advisory Group member from the Institute for Mental Health, University of Birmingham

The format for the discussion will include each member of the panel offering an initial two-minute response to the stimulus; questions submitted in advance by audience members; and general questions and comments taken from the audience and panel members.

How to book

Tickets for this event are free but must be reserved in advance

Reserve now

The discussion will finish at 5.30pm, allowing participants the opportunity to see a performance of As You Like It at 7.15pm in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. 

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