An Abundance of Positivity at the Industry Minds Awards
A year ago to the week, Scarlett Maltman and Cathy Read, tired of the lack of active conversations on mental health, sat down and launched the Industry Minds podcast to tackle the subject and tear down the barriers that come with it.
The weekly episodes explore how to keep a healthy balance when working in a such a mentally demanding business through interviews with creatives across all disciplines and areas of the industry.
This past Sunday, they held the first edition of the Industry Minds Awards at The Piano Works to celebrate those who've helped people in need - either hands-on or through raising awareness - for the wellbeing of those working onstage, as well as behind the scenes.
Amy Booth-Steele, Sophie Evans, Ceili O'Connor, Lawrence Smith and Jake Halsey-Jones performed in between speeches, contributing to the marvellous atmosphere of the event. The night saw Raffaella Covino and her non-profit Applause For Thought sweeping three awards in total.
We at BroadwayWorld were honoured to present her with the Establishment Award, commending all the aid her organisation provides to those who need it. From free and low-cost support to workshops, in less than a year she's proved that change doesn't have to take long to happen.
Overwhelmed with surprise and joy, she shared her personal journey and stressed how crucial it is to keep the conversation around mental health alive, as she stepped up to receive the Recognition Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award too. Honesty was a prevailing aspect of the event, with many of the presenters sharing their own experiences and stressing the importance of being open about the difficulties we face.
From being forbidden to talk about asthma to having to struggle through post-natal depression, the deep issues within the entertainment industry came to the surface, accompanied by ways in which they can be addressed and fought proactively.
Welch was very vocal about refusing to work with those who aren't understanding or who penalise individuals for having to take time off. "We don't have to suck it up!" she emphasised, making her point through steady rounds of applause.
Booth-Steele received the Performer Award for her piece #HonestAmy, which gathered universal praise at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last month for its authenticity and effectiveness in representing PTSD and coping with life-altering moments.
The list of winners also included Nikolai Foster bagging the Creative Award, presented to him by Taylor-Mills for the care and awareness the director brings into the room, ArtsEd picking up the Training Institute Award, and King Manual Therapy the Healthcare & Commercial Enterprise one. What Maltman and Read have accomplished in such a short time is truly astonishing, and everyone - from the judges to the recipients and performers - voiced their praise.
It's clear that change can happen, but the issue needs to be fought from all sides. Michael Harris - managing director and senior agent at Apollo Artist Management - stressed this, calling for all professionals to have policies in place to safeguard artists and collaborators and to create safe spaces across the industry. The positivity and support shared by the varied attendees was affirming, but what was truly refreshing was seeing that it wasn't just words.
These people are bringing concrete change in an industry that too often seems to be stuck in its archaic ways. As Public Choice Award winner Addam Merali-Younger mentioned during his acceptance speech, so much change has happened in one brief year - imagine what's still to come!