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BWW catches up with the team behind Ladybones to chat about bringing it to the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Tell us a bit about Ladybones.

Ladybones is a solo interactive show about OCD, archaeology and dungarees (what a combo). It follows archaeologist Nuala, who has OCD, on her journey after she discovers a mysterious skeleton. I wanted to write about characters who were more than just their condition or disability, and although the main character in Ladybones has OCD, she also has an intriguing job, complex relationships with people, a love of snacks, and loads of other things that aren't defined by her mental illness.

Do you think there is a lot of misunderstanding around OCD?

For sure, I think OCD is both misunderstood and also trivialised. Most people have heard the phrase 'a bit OCD' used to describe someone who might be extra tidy, but OCD is a disorder rather than a quirk. I've had OCD since I was tiny, but wasn't diagnosed until I was twenty, because it wasn't something that was spoken about. It's a debilitating condition to live with, and I felt like I couldn't tell anyone about the frightening spiral of intrusive thoughts and compulsions that I was trapped in, because I thought I would be ostracised.

Why bring it to Edinburgh?

As a theatre-maker it's exciting to take my first show to the biggest arts festival in the world. We loved being part of VAULT Festival earlier this year, and this is an amazing opportunity to reach a wider audience, and change people's perceptions around OCD and mental illness. I also plan to climb up Arthur's seat and eat my body weight in jacket (baked, I know, baked) potatoes.

What do you hope audiences take away from the show?

I hope people have a proper laugh, are moved, and leave feeling less alone than when they arrived. Although Ladybones deals with OCD, I think lots of people have moments of feeling lonely or like an outsider. I want to show OCD on stage in a truthful way and I think if I had seen a play or a film about OCD when I was struggling I would have felt more hopeful. I'd like people to come away from the show with a sense that recovery is possible, and that people with mental illnesses are just people.

What's next for Ladybones after Edinburgh?

Who knows? Probably a lot of naps and toast. I'd love to perform Ladybones in the North of England - I'm from a little Yorkshire village and it would be ace to take it back to my roots.


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