1. Can you tell us about your QAF funded project? 

Going Mental:  Stopping Stigma One Story at a Time are being presented for the general public on May 20 at 7:30pm and 21st  at 2:00pm and 7:30pm at the Queens Theatre in Corona Park.

Here’s a description of the overall project:

New Yorkers who are battling depression or anxiety, struggling in the throes of psychosis, or feeling the effects of society pushing them away, are often silenced or ignored.  To address this issue, Village Playback Theatre performances are being presented throughout the spring to audience members in psychiatric hospitals and mental health clinics, as well as residences and clubhouses, where they are invited to share their experience with mental illness.  In May, public audiences will have an opportunity to participate in interactive performances to share their own stories or those of a loved one in recognition of National Mental Health Awareness month.

Thanks to a collaboration between Village Playback Theatre and Citiview Connections Clubhouse, a number of performers are in recoveryof chronic mental illness. Through their brave and eye-opening performances, the audience will be brought behind the veil of secrecy to see what mental illness looks like from the inside.

2. How do you think this project will impact the community?

We have received enthusiastic response from our audiences.  In Queens Hospital on the Behavorial Health units, patients have shared emotional moments while sharing experiences of their mental health history and afterwards, thanked us profusely for stepping into their lives to help validate their struggled and elevate their victories.  The staff acknowledged that the show we brought created a sense of community for other patients that they had not experienced before.  We hope that we will have a similar impact at our shows at Queens Theatre.  It’s clear that this project is valuable and necessary for the community.  1 out of 4 adults are affected by mental health at some point in their lives, yet many keep their struggles to themselves out of fear of judgement and criticism.  Our performances provide an opportunity for people to speak openly and in this way models a healthier alternative than remaining silence which increase stigma which often surrounds mental health. 

3. How has QCA been helpful in the grant process?
Funding from QCA has contributed to our ability to realize this project.  We have provided 3 shows for adults who are in recovery for their mental illnesses and are preparing for 3 public shows at Queens Theatre. 

4. Here is your chance, what do you want everyone to know about your organization?

In the partnership between ourselves and Village Playback Theatre, we are learning  what true collaboration means on many diverse levels.  One of the greatest rewards is to see how proud members of our Citiview Clubhouse are to be training and performing with a professional theatre company.  Many have said that this project has been the most meaningful thing they have done in their lives.