A play about mental health by a former social worker will have a one-off performance in Croydon this weekend.
The performance of So U Think I’m Crazy?, written by Ekanem Hines and co-produced with psychologist Rhian Tait, will take place at The FrontRoom in St Georges Walk and will include a Q&A panel with mental health professional practitioners. Its aim is to reach younger audiences through conversations around mental health.
Hines, a retired social worker who lives in Croydon, wrote the play in 2013 after some persuasion from a friend. Since its 2014 debut, So U Think I’m Crazy? has been showcased around the UK at venues including The Albany and Ovalhouse.
She said the play uses the “versatility of song, dance, poetry and drama to convey the journey of a young African-Caribbean man’s physical and spiritual journey which leads to incarceration in a psychiatric ward”.
The show will feature actors and volunteers from the community theatre group, kNOw My Mind, which Hines co-founded in 2014. She said she used her 30 years of experience as a social worker to help the cast prepare for the show.
She added: “The play is about child sex abuse, bereavement, poverty, relationships, housing situations…it is titled ‘So You Think I’m Crazy?’ because it is questioning who you think is the crazy one. Not everyone wants to embrace those particular subjects. We are speaking on issues that are quite difficult to talk about and opening up a hub for people to talk.”
The play is funded by the Croydon BME Forum and Croydon Council.
Hines said the support of the council was fundamental to its success when the play opened on World Mental Health Day in October. She praised Councillor Janet Campbell, a new black councillor for Croydon, for showing her support for kNOw My Mind and the production.
Andrew Brown, who became CEO of Croydon BME Forum 13 months ago, said: “When I first saw the play, it really hit home. I think that it speaks about issues that are really close to me and what I care about. I want Croydon BME Forum to be a wellness hub where people can speak about mental health openly.”