OCDIVA Returns To Sydney This April At Chippen St Theatre

Following a successful tour, join star Yasmin Arkinstall in this unique, autobiographical performance exploring life, art, and mental health.

By: Apr. 15, 2024
OCDIVA Returns To Sydney This April At Chippen St Theatre
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Following the success of 'OCDiva' in 2023, Yasmin Arkinstall returns to Sydney this April by popular demand. Limited tickets are available to two shows only at Chippen St Theatre, Sydney Eisteddfod's new, intimate 50-person theatre in the heart of Chippendale.

Following a sell-out preview performance at the Arts and Cultural Exchange Parramatta and regional tours to Wagga Wagga, Narrandera, Lawson, Blackheath and Lismore, audiences can't get enough of 'OCDiva' and its star, Yasmin Arkinstall. Described by one audience member as 'quirky, worthy, moving, silly, joyful', this autobiographical opera platforms one woman's struggle to do life, art and mental health.

Arkinstall, a twenty-something-year-old opera singer, TikTok dancer and Western Sydney girl, has her life turned upside-down by her search for diagnosis and treatment for sensorimotor OCD. Combining R&B, a dash of music theatre, a TikTok dance, and a whole lot of delicious, defiant, and occasionally heartbreaking opera, 'OCDiva' follows Arkinstall on her journey through various therapies and therapists.

And it has really resonated with audiences all over New South Wales. Melanie Penicka-Smith, the show's Co-Producer and Production Manager, said, 'the regional tours have had the most profound effect on audiences and the team. In Narrandera we were blown-away by the breadth of the demographic who came to see the show.'

'One of the great things about being such a small team is that on tour, we do everything, including running the Box Office. It gives us an opportunity to ask people directly about why they've come out to see the show', says Mel. 'In Narrandera, a woman told us, "No one ever comes to this town to perform. I know nothing about opera or this show, but I thought I'd come out and see what it was all about".'

The Narrandera performance also made an impact on local GP Dr Joe Romeo, who described the production as 'welcoming and inclusive' for someone 'relatively new to opera'. 'Best of all', said Joe, 'there was a discussion time at the end with significant sharing and informal education on the topic of mental illness, particularly, but not limited to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As a GP and amateur musician, I was surprised to see the beautiful marriage of art and advocacy for mental health and can see the value of this production as a tool in our growth as a community in better understanding, supporting and sharing our life journey with the reality of mental health.'

Touring has been a whole new experience for 'OCDiva's star, Yasmin Arkinstall. 'We're thrilled to be getting comments that 'OCDiva' is doing great work to break down mental health stigma and raise awareness around neurodivergence', she says.
'OCDiva is a small indie show that we have worked hard to put together - a mixture of truths about what it's like to live with a chronic mental health condition, the stigma sufferers experience, and therapy tools learnt along the way. Not everyone will relate to our show but we think the messages would be important for many people in the mental health community to see.'

The show's Co-Producer and Musical Director, Sarah Penicka-Smith, would like to acknowledge the show's all-female creative team, a rarity in opera, but something that's changing. 'We have the most incredible team of fearless, feisty people on this show, all of whom bring lived experience of some kind to our themes of trauma, mental health and disability. The team is a great example of why we created 'OCDiva' - to platform the different ways artists keep creating alongside their difficulties, including some pretty out-there senses of humour. Don't expect the show to be bleak; do expect to be invited to join a TikTok dance.'

Audiences will experience 'OCDiva' in the intimate, 50-seat surrounds of the Chippen St Theatre, thanks to the generous support of Sydney Eisteddfod. General Manager Annette Brown says, 'Sydney Eisteddfod is proud to support initiatives like 'OCDiva', combining inspirational performance with strong messages around visibility, empowerment and authenticity. We are committed to giving accessibility to all and hope that sharing Yasmin's story inspires other young artists to achieve their dreams, even in difficult circumstances'.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body.

All performances conclude with a Q&A with the Creative Team (not all Creative Team members will attend all shows). Running time: approximately 60 mins, plus up to 30 minutes' Q&A.

Content Warning: 'OCDiva' contains themes relating to mental health and ableism. 'OCDiva' may not be suitable for children aged 12 and under.

A new opera by EVE KLEIN. Libretto by YASMIN ARKINSTALL/SHARNA GALVIN/SARAH PENICKA-SMITH Movement Director: Jana Castillo Designer: Olivia Watkins Conceived and produced by Sarah Penicka-Smith and Melanie Penicka-Smith/Penicka-Smith Arts & Event Management.

Original project development by Sharna Galvin, Melanie Penicka-Smith and Sarah Penicka-Smith.


Chippen St Theatre
45 Chippen St
7pm Saturday 20 April & 2pm Sunday 21 April
Tickets: $45/$20 via Humanitix


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