Interactive Audio-Theatre Experience HEAR MYSELF THINK Announces Second Series

Five new writers have been added.

By: Aug. 15, 2022

The incredible audio-theatre initiative Hear Myself Think has announced a second series, which will be released on all major podcast platforms on Saturday 5th November. Inviting listeners to plug in their headphones and undertake a short, simple everyday activity in the company of one of five different characters, Hear Myself Think launched during the pandemic to offer bitesize opportunities for active engagement with your own wellbeing.

The second series will also embark on an audio tour, with a press listening party at Shoreditch's cultural hub Rich Mix, on Friday 4th November. Arts Centre Hounslow, Streatham Space Project and Quay Arts Centre will also launch the series on the same day, hosting the free project online in order to bring episodes directly to their local audiences and communities.

Developed with guidance from mental health advisors and support organisations, each ten-minute podcast episode also includes mental health support information, and points towards links for immediate and community support. Hear Myself Think series two builds on the first series' global audience (hundreds of listeners in 25+ countries) by employing 15 creatives who are more representative of groups least served by existing support, specifically the Black, Asian Diaspora, LGBTQ+, Disabled and Neurodivergent communities. They will create new episodes exploring mental health from diverse perspectives, more accurately addressing issues such as inequalities in access to care.

There will be five new episodes in total - each with a different writer and director, and performed by five different actors. The commissioned writers hail from all over the globe, each bringing their own unique style and experiences to their writing. S. Rupsha Mitra (she/her) is a student from Kolkata, India, whose writing is inspired by works of spirituality. She is joined by Tomasz Lesniara (he/him), a freelance writer and journalist based in Glasgow and originally from Poland - his work focuses on social issues, pop culture and identity. With interests including themes of trauma, race, and mental health, Tessa Kaur (they/them) was born and raised in Singapore, where they live and work. Ngozi "N/A" Oparah (she/her) is a queer, first-generation Nigerian-American writer, who is currently studying towards a PhD investigating the improvement of mental health literacy. London-based Blessing Odukoya (she/her) discusses topics ranging from disability, mental health and sexual health in her work.

The cast are yet to be announced, but the previous cast included Eastenders' and Doctor Who's Louise Jameson (The Mousetrap, St Martins; The Madness of George III, Nottingham Playhouse/NT Live), and Cherrelle Skeete (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Palace; Fun Home, Young Vic).

Pick an activity and listen along as these newfound friends tidy, talk, sketch and walk alongside you, with their comic and contemplative monologues offering instruction, comfort and the restorative power of good company. The episodes will focus on activities that not only have a measurable, achievable beginning and end, but also represent productive activity, and present opportunities for self-reflection. Though each character is not necessarily experiencing mental health issues, the narratives explore how they engage with both themselves and the activity in a way that encourages the same process in the listener, and recreates the feel of a one-to-one personal conversation, allowing audiences to shape the experience through their own input.

Series One Creator and Writer Olly Gully (he/him) comments, "The opportunity to work with such an exciting group of writers, directors and actors on bringing Series Two to life is a real privilege. I've no doubt the rich, honest, surprising and hopeful episodes they've created based on their own experiences of mental health will resonate deeply with a wide range of audiences, and significantly expand Hear Myself Think's positive international impact.

With a background in theatre, the team is also interested in exploring how the arts respond and adapt to ongoing challenges in staging live work, as well as questions over accessibility, exploring how digital experiences can innovatively retain or recreate theatre's inherent liveness. As well as answering increasingly relevant questions about how we prioritise our own mental health, the project aims to progressively answer wider questions about how theatremakers find new ways to tell stories and engage with audiences.

Hear Myself Think is developed in partnership with Streatham Space Project, RichMix, Arts Centre Hounslow, and Pirate studios, and is supported using public funds by Arts Council England. The Hear Myself Think team is exceptionally grateful to Dr Noelle Blackman and Cathy May for their guidance on S2, as well as to the members, volunteers and staff of Mosaic Clubhouse and Arts Network, whose advice and support has been integral to the development of this project.

Hear Myself Think is dedicated to the memory of Julia Gully.