TampaRep Raises The Curtain On Mental Health With Grant Awards From The Community Foundation Tampa Bay And The Love IV Lawrence Foundation

Programming begins this week as TampaRep presents IN MY OWN LITTLE CORNER: MY WORK IN PROGRESS WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER.

By: Apr. 15, 2024
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In advance of May’s Mental Health Awareness month, Tampa Repertory Theatre (TampaRep) embarks on a suite of artistic programming and events to help de-stigmatize conversations surrounding mental health for the Tampa Bay community. 

Funding for TampaRep’s initiative, “Raise the Curtain on Mental Health Awareness,” is made possible in part by $20,000 in recent awards from two distinguished area foundations’ competitive grant programs. The Community Foundation Tampa Bay awarded $15,000 and the Love IV Lawrence Foundation awarded $5,000 for TampaRep’s project launch.

Programming begins this week as TampaRep presents IN MY OWN LITTLE CORNER: MY WORK IN PROGRESS WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER, a one woman autobiographical musical production, created and performed by Broadway and TV veteran Chrissy Whitehead. The performance will be held at the HCC Studio Theatre on Friday, April 19 at 7 pm. Tickets are available at www.tamparep.org.

As a complement to the performance, Ms. Whitehead will facilitate a Care Box workshop for students ages 13+ at the Patel Conservatory on Saturday, April 20 from 4 to 7 pm. Designed to encourage self-care, participants will discover tools to improve mental wellness through an interactive session fused with musical theatre. Made possible through Community Foundation of Tampa Bay’s grant award, TampaRep is able to offer the student workshop free of charge for attendees.

In addition to providing support for the project’s venue costs with their grant funding, The Love IV Lawrence Foundation will offer mental health first aid training for the artists and staff of TampaRep in late April.

The culmination of TampaRep’s project is their upcoming production of NEXT TO NORMAL, opening on May 31 at the USF Theatre Centre with performances running through June 16. This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning rock musical explores one family’s struggles with mental illness, suicidality and grief, while offering audiences a powerful perspective on human resilience. 

Through community partnerships with NAMI of Tampa Bay and Tampa Bay Thrives, the Raise the Curtain on Mental Health Awareness project will include informative panel discussions following select performances of NEXT TO NORMAL and will help connect the community with area resources for mental health support and education. 

TampaRep’s Producing Artistic Director/CEO added, "I've wanted to produce NEXT TO NORMAL at TampaRep for nearly a decade, and when the opportunity came to partner with all these amazing organizations and individuals who wanted to help normalize the conversation around mental health, I knew this was the time. As I recently read, A 2023 Tampa Bay Thrives survey found that nearly 7 in 10 Tampa Bay residents experienced at least 1 ‘poor mental health’ day during the past month. I've been there myself, and I know how important acknowledgement is to the healing process."


Operating as a professional not-for-profit theatre company for over a decade, Tampa Repertory Theatre (TampaRep) provides artistic, educational and cultural enrichment for the people of Tampa Bay. TampaRep believes theater has the power to transform us by telling stories that inspire strength, vulnerability, and understanding of ourselves and others. 


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