Curtain rises on new partnership

Curtain rises on new partnership

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust have signed an agreement with Birmingham Repertory Theatre and The Hearth Centre to use drama to promote mental wellbeing.

The three partners all signed an agreement on Friday (May 6, 2011) which will see them work together to share their skills, expertise and resources to encourage service users to engage in arts-based activities and to help reduce the public stigma around mental health.

Polly Wright, artistic director of the Hearth Centre, added: “This partnership will benefit service users by providing professional expertise to help service users to develop their skills in playwriting and performance.

“Service users will also benefit through the production of professional plays by Hearth and The REP, which will be used to raise awareness and reduce stigma about mental health issues in the community and the general public.”

The Hearth Centre is a not-for-profit organisation set up by Polly Wright in 2003, as the centre for Health, Education and the Humanities with Art at the Heart. Its main aim is to use the arts to illustrate key issues in health, social care and the humanities, specialising in the use of theatre to address mental health issues.

Sue Turner, Chief Executive of the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation said: “I am delighted that our trust has entered into a partnership with the Birmingham Rep and The Hearth Centre to use drama and theatre to promote emotional well being, mental health and the reduction of stigma.

“The importance of the performing arts and creative arts in mental health recovery has long been recognised and our partnership will share our skills, expertise and resources to develop programmes of work which will increase access to drama and theatre by our service users and their carers.”

Steve Ball, associate director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and lead partner for this project, said: “It is widely acknowledged that drama and theatre can play an important part in promoting emotional wellbeing and mental health.

“This innovative partnership between The REP, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Hearth Centre will enable to us to deliver high quality drama to sections of our community that are not always able to access theatre provision.”