The Westside Players are performing their latest production next week in Walls. ‘Who Cares?’ is the result of a three way partnership between the theatre group, Shetland Arts and The Shetland Mental Health team.
The project started with a meeting last year when the drama group indicated to the Mental Health Team that they would like to work on a piece that dealt in some way with perceptions of mental health. Shetland Arts was approached and it was agreed that John Haswell would write and direct a play specifically for the company.
Mr Haswell said “It took a long time to get a handle on what the play would be about. I wanted to avoid asking performers to portray mental illness on stage. I was uneasy about sanitising or glamourising mental illness. Instead I decided that the play should concentrate on the role played by carers. We had some wonderful meetings with a group of carers who were forthright about their own circumstances and what they would like the production to achieve. Their input has been instrumental in shaping the final piece. I also wanted the production to be an unusual theatrical experience. It is not performed on a stage. Rather, as it is set in a pub, it is performed in a bar area with the audience intermingled among the actors. We eavesdrop on the various conversations that are taking place and discover aspects of the lives of individual characters that might otherwise pass us by. Hopefully the production will have an impact in our appreciation of the stresses associated with the invaluable role that carers play.”
Although there is only one confirmed date at present, it is intended that this production will tour to other parts of Shetland in the near future.
‘Who Cares?’ is being performed on Monday evening (7th June) at Walls Regatta Club. The performance starts at 7.30 and lasts for about 45 minutes. Admission is free although there will be a collection for ‘Mind Your Head’.