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Performing Arts Wellbeing Summit - How Can the Show Go On?

The mental health of artists is a topic that is multifarious and complex. Many of us have heard romanticised stories about artists cutting off their ears, altering their states of mind to come into divine contact with the emotional self and more. However, the idea of the “tortured genius” has steadily been losing steam over the past few years; as we come to a point where artists are finding themselves coming to a halt, hitting the wall, burning out (or any other idiom you can think of along those lines!)

There has been a decided shift in the creative community regarding our mental health, beginning with the release of a study by Entertainment Assist and Victoria University that revealed alarming statistics about the mental health of artists and arts workers, musicians and technicians. Coinciding with World Mental Health Day the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment (AAWE), a cross-sector peer-to-peer initiative for shared interest in positive mental health and wellbeing behaviours for a sustainable Australian entertainment industry, was announced which is great news! You can see their events or become a member HERE. There are a great number of factors that contribute to mental health issues in the arts, and they differ not only due to individual experience, but also as they are influenced by the the sub-sectors of the industry that we work in.

Jane Kreis of Theatre Network NSW has gathered a group of artists, arts workers and arts representatives to contribute to this discourse from all across these sub-sectors. How Can The Show Go On? is unique in that it is providing a sharing platform for not only the experiences of working in high stakes arenas of mainstream theatre, film, and television, but is also addressing concerns of organisations within the small to medium arts sector and independents.

Milk Crate Theatre CEO Judith Bowtell is excited to be part of the NSW Performing Arts and Wellbeing Committee created by Kreis, and has been busy helping to organise the event. Milk Crate Theatre will be presenting an excerpt from our recent show addressing depression, That’s The Spirit, directed and performed by Kay Armstrong, with Georgina Wood, Desmond Edwards, Kamini Singh and Steve Simao. At the event, I'll both be representing Milk Crate on the day as a guest panellist, as well as presenting on my independent project Self Help Arts – a collective that has been exploring the relationship between arts and mental health through performance art and installation.

GOES ON: Monday 17th November at the Sydney Opera House, 9am to 5pm

Tickets are still available HERE and are priced at $35 (for the whole day!); it's wheelchair accessible, with audio loop available.

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