1623 to air YouTube series on trauma and recovery

Published: 1 February 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Co-created with people living with mental health issues: What We Feel

Derby-based social justice theatre company 1623 has joined forces with broadcasting and media production company D and O Productions to produce What We Feel, a mini-series for YouTube exploring “life, love and grief when you’re queer, disabled, deaf, female, middle-aged and working-class”.

The four short films are based on real-life experiences of trauma and recovery. They examine a range of mental health issues including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.

The episodes explore how creativity supports the wellbeing of individuals who face prejudice in their everyday lives. The cast and characters are diverse and represent marginalised communities including black, deaf, disabled, LGBTQ+ and working-class. Actors share the same protected characteristic as the characters they play.

The drama was shaped out of workshops and co-created with people living with mental health issues. The series was supported by a counselling therapist and a dramatherapy practitioner throughout the planning, filming and editing process to safeguard the health and well-being of the production team, company and co-creators, as well as to ensure that the films are based in reality and offer connection and reassurance to audiences experiencing similar thoughts and feelings to the characters in the films.

The cast of What We Feel is Niall Costigan (Vince), Edalia Day (Laura), Kellan Frankland (Rachel), Caroline Parker (Beryl), Bea Webster (Dax) and Oliver Alvin-Wilson (Melvin) who is also director and editor.

Producer is Christopher Lydon and dramaturg is Ben Spiller. Nikki Disney is dramatherapy practitioner and counselling consultant is Richard Marshall-Lanes. Clare Edwards, Alison Green, Alim Jayda, Elvire Roberts and Catrin Thomas are the workshop and rehearsal BSL interpreters.

What We Feel airs weekly every Friday in February at 7PM on 1623’s YouTube channel and is free to watch.