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15 Playwrights, Directors and Actors Announced For Audio-Theatre Experience HEAR MYSELF THINK

The second series of the podcast is due to be released on Saturday 5th November. 

15 Playwrights, Directors and Actors Announced For Audio-Theatre Experience HEAR MYSELF THINK

The incredible audio-theatre experience Hear Myself Think has commissioned five playwrights, five directors and five actors for its exciting second series. 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 of the podcast is due to be released on Saturday 5th November.

Hailing from all over the globe, each creative brings their own unique experiences to the episodes. 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.

Episode One is written by Singaporean journalist Tessa Kaur and directed by Lexine Lee (National Youth Theatre, Chinese Arts Now). Introducing listeners to practical grounding techniques, Ella Cumber (Mulan Rouge, The Vaults) will bring to life the character of Eva, who's hidden herself in a café bathroom after a public argument with her partner.

Hailing from Glasgow, writer and journalist Tomasz Lesniara wrote Episode Two, which is directed by Liverpool-based artist Daryl Rowlands. Listeners rehydrate alongside fun-loving Callum - portrayed by British Sicilian actor Joseph Vaiana (Small Island, National Theatre) - who's not-so-fresh from the night before and struggling to define his priorities with the people around him.

The third episode is penned by Blessing Odukoya and directed by the Founder of Black Mind, neurodivergent, disabled and queerly feminine Igbo-Londoner Ezenwanyi Amarachi Rachel Nwokoro. Deaf actor Omolabake Jolaoso appears as Bisi, who asks herself whose demands she should be expected to honour after experiencing yet another incident of ableism, all while making her favourite stir fry. Jolaoso hopes to spread more awareness about deafness through her work, giving the younger black deaf generation hope that they can do what they set their minds to.

Episode Four's writer Ngozi "N/A" Oparah is a queer, first-generation Nigerian-American author and its director is Xanthus Peters (Changing Destiny, Young Vic). London-based actor Nicola May-Taylor (Teenage Dick, Donmar Warehouse; Rutherford and Son, National Theatre) stars. Listeners make a speciality coffee guided by Erica, who's attempting to remind herself of the positives in making an emotionally difficult, but necessary, decision.

Indian freelancer S. Rupsha Mitra writes the final episode, which is directed by Radhika Aggarwal (Soho Theatre Writers Lab 21/22). It stars Singapore-born Varshini (The Cardboard Kitchen Project, Camden Fringe) as young performer Jasmine, who invites listeners to visualise the Rasas - the indescribable essences of art in Indian aesthetics - as she freezes onstage during a major Kathak dance competition.

This series will embark on an audio tour, with a press listening party powered by Beats by Dre 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 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. 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 process of working alongside such a talented group of creatives on bringing Series Two to audiences has been more than we could ever have hoped for. The writers' own scripts are brilliant, nuanced works of art in themselves, but add the insight, depth and clarity that each director has brought, and the warmth, truth and vitality with which the actors infuse each character, and we've really hit on something special.

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 theatre makers 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.




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