A powerful new play asks questions about what is "normal" – and who gets to decide.
The Possibility of Colour, from Tree Fish Productions, is an immersive insight into the reality of hearing, synaesthesia, neurodiversity and forced treatment, and has been created over several years with the help of mental health professionals, academics and those who live with the conditions.
The production, from award-winning writer and director Pete Carruthers, will be staged in Salford (New Adelphi Theatre, University of Salford, (November 17-18, 7pm), Preston (Media Factory, UCL, November 23-24) and Ormskirk (Rose Theatre, Edge Hill University, November 29), as well as being broadcast online with a live Q&A session (December 1-2 here, 7pm).
As well as the public performances, special sold-out shows will run for up to 1,350 student nurses at each venue, funded by Health Education England.
Following each performance, audience members will be able to take part in a Q&A with a panel including leading mental health experts and people with experience of the play’s themes.
The discussions will continue as part of a larger national tour from next autumn.
Designed by the AI-controlled "Vigil" Corporation, an new implant is a miracle device that promises to cure all mental illness. While for many the Implant is an irresistible guarantee of eternal happiness, for others it’s an instrument of control, stripping them of what it means to be human.
Will Joseph, his sister Aisling, or his best friend Helen, be able to decide which of them, if any, should have the implant? And with the ever-looming presence of Vigil, do they even have a choice?
Tree Fish Productions is a theatre and film production company based in the north of England, which creates high-quality that hopes to inspire greater understanding, empathy and compassion.
Along with creating independent work, it also collaborates with health and education providers to create powerful stories that assist in professional training – watching the play will be an official part of their training for the student nurses at the three venues.
Pete Carruthers said: “The play opens up vital conversations about the ways in which we treat people who are considered by society to be abnormal or mentally ill.
“It aims to improve understanding and empathy for others, but also to provoke discussion, reflection, and even policy change in the long run. We don’t just want to entertain and inform.”