Mind PLAY 2018 took place May 25th, 26th, and 27th at the Staircase Cafe Theatre!

Mind PLAY Theatre Festival is Hamilton's Mental Health Theatre Festival! Back for our second year, this year featured 12 different productions. Each production was performed twice throughout the 3-day festival, located at the Staircase Cafe Theatre (27 Dundurn St. N.) 

Group A (Friday May 25th at 7 PM and Saturday May 26th at 1 PM):

Notapom Productions - INVIS/BLE
HollyWould Productions - Opening Statement
Squirrel Suit Productions - A Day in a Life (Workshop Production)
Tree of Stars - Struggles & Self Care
RFA - The Black Doll
Never Too Late Productions - The Retirement Party

Group B (Saturday May 26th at 7 PM and Sunday May 27th at 1 PM):

Holly McCourt Productions - Post Tour Sorta Dealing
Theatre for The Soul - Step by Step
Wise Mind Theatre - Elizabeth
Theatre for The Soul - Inner Battle
Open Heart - Normal Shmormal
Soul Gem Theatre - Thief

We realize shows about mental health can be triggering, which is why we have a flag system in place. If you feel triggered, you are encouraged to raise a flag and one of our volunteers will escort you out of the performance, and stay with you as long as you need.

Notapom Productions - INVIS/BLE

Notapom Productions is excited to participate in MindPLAY for the second year in a row, after producing Sasha Rehaume’s “The Dark Days” in 2017. This year, we bring another original to the stage; Dylan Duarte and Carissa Kaye’s “Invis/ble.” Derek, played by Notapom veteran Tyler Brent (directing two plays at the Hamilton Fringe this summer: “Romeo & Juliet: An Escapist Comedy” at the Artwood Artbar and “Eli The Musical Guy & Pearl the Shakespearean Girl”), escapes his family Christmas for a cigarette, only to be followed by his brother Thomas, played by the talented Phil Krusto (a graduate of New York’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts, starring in the upcoming Fringe “Sheer Criminal Genius(TM)"). With dialogue close to the hearts of the Notapom production team, these two connect over the stresses, guilt, and heartache they’ve had to face because of their father’s ailing condition. Notapom Productions is a proud supporter of the Hamilton theatre community and its ability to open conversations regarding mental health. We hope that our production will continue this dialogue, and encourage everyone facing depression, stress, and anxiety to seek the help that they need for a successful recovery. 

HollyWould Productions - Opening Statement

Holly Wyder is a producer, actress, comedian and writer who has appeared around the GTA for the last six years on many stages. She has performed at The Second City and created her own web-series (Female Therapy) from scratch. Holly is very excited to be a part of this years MindPlay festival as she is a great advocate of mental health. In 2016 she performed a two hander called 'Getting Odd' at the Toronto Fringe Festival tackling public shaming and how easy it is for our brain to turn on us. Holly is happy to be working on a new show for this festival called "Opening Statement", a story of a youtuber's journey of imposter syndrome. This is Holly's first one-person show and she hopes to use this festival as a chance to expand the piece for a tour. You can follow more of her story at hollywyder.com or her sad/hilarious tweets @hollyiswyder

Squirrel Suit Productions - A Day in a Life (Workshop Production)

Did you know the last institution closed in 2009? In this solo/mask/storytelling piece you will meet some interesting and charming characters that live in a group home for adults with special needs. Each person has lived most of their life in an institution. This play explores the recent history of institutions in Ontario while also giving you a glimpse into the present day.

This play exposes a dark part of Canadian history that is fairly unknown and as time passes it is a history that is at risk of disappearing. Many people who survived the institutions are capable of telling their own story; this play features characters that could not.

This work is still in its developing stage, both the script and performance.

 Carlyn Rhamey is a storyteller, theatre creator and co-founder of Squirrel Suit Productions, a local collective dedicated to making a positive impact through theatre. Carlyn has written/performed two solo shows: The ADHD Project (2017 Ottawa Fringe Emerging Artist Award) and SAOR (Free) (2016 Hamilton Fringe Best of Venue).

Currently she is developing new work within two playwright units: “A Day In A Life” with FEMINISTA: A Women’s Room, and “SCAREDY CAT” with The Junction at Theatre Aquarius, to be workshopped at the 2018 Hamilton Fringe. Recently Carlyn received the GOLD Audience Choice Award with her creative team at the HamilTEN Festival. She is also an ADHD advocate, aspiring clown and a Direct Support Professional working with adults with special needs.

Performed by Carlyn Rhamey.  Sound Design by Jesse Horvath.

Tree of Stars - Struggles & Self Care

Performers: Jessica Compton, Shady Grove Lukaya Café, Tabitha Jakabffy, Ashley Bell, Alison Chisholm, Randy Loyer, Anna-Marie Gibbs, Jannelle Pietila, Lisa Colbert (Friday only), 2 children.

RFA - The Black Doll

Storytelling by Tamara Kamermans and Rose Pye

Never Too Late Productions - The Retirement Party

The Retirement Party, a dramatic monologue, pinpoints a defining moment in the life of Barbara, a retiring employee of Cooper and Ross, Inc.   Her coworkers are expecting cake, pleasantries and an excuse to goof off work for an hour, but Barbara decides to retire from more than just her job on this particular day.  She’s been through a lot in her life, and it’s time to get real.  Written and performed by Joanne Steven, a Hamilton-based actor, The Retirement Party is inspired mostly by a number of significant news events in the last couple of years, and a little by Joanne’s own retirement from a 25 year career in social work in January 2018.  This is the first project of many by Never Too Late Productions.

 

GROUP B

Holly McCourt Productions - Post Tour Sorta Dealing

While on tour across Canada the cast of ‘A Forever Frozen Story’ was in a fatal accident. Post Tour Sorta Dealing is an intimate retelling of this horrific event and the struggle to return back to life after experiencing a trauma. It is a story of grief, healing and rediscovery.

Holly McCourt is thrilled to be performing an adaptation of her self-written cabaret Post Tour Sorta Dealing for MindPLAY. She has had the pleasure of performing across Canada and the United States in the musicals ‘A Forever Frozen Story’, ‘The Little Mermaid’ and most recently ‘Shopkins Live!’. You can catch her performing this summer in Toronto at Pirate Life Theatre.

Theatre for The Soul - Step by Step

Theatre For The Soul is a theatre academy and production company that promotes the expression of self and the mirroring of real life through the performing arts. Paige Lacroix and Sandi Robertson-Brooks decided to begin this company because they want to inspire others through theatre, as they have always been.

Step By Step is written and directed by Paige Lacroix and is a story that is very close to her heart. It explores the view of people who have an addiction problem, and how relationships are affected by the addicts behaviours. We see Kevin hit his rock bottom, but soon after we watch him rollercoaster through his journey to recovery. This would not be possible without the talented cast and crew who helped to bring this story to life.

1 in 7 Canadians struggle with an alcohol addiction and 1 in 15 Canadians struggle with other substance abuse problems. Paige’s hope is that Step By Step will help someone who is struggling with or who is affected by addiction. Her wish is for you to find your way to recovery and serenity. You are not alone.

Wise Mind Theatre - Elizabeth

What happens when caregivers experience burnout? “ELIZABETH” is the story of Sarah, a mental health nurse who thinks she has seen it all. She knows that they key to her own mental health is keeping work and home separate. But when Eliza, a young mother gets admitted, Sarah’s coping strategies begin to fail. Told in story telling format, this play explores mental illness not only from a patient’s perspective, it also gives us a glimpse into how caregivers lives are affected by those they care for. “Elizabeth” is the story of a nurse who has to confront her own humanity in an imperfect system, where happy endings aren’t always guaranteed.

Erika Reesor is a feminist playwright from Hamilton and the Artistic Producer of Queer on Stage. She enjoys creating through a variety of approaches and is particularly interested in intersectional theatre. “ELIZABETH” is a new play that has its origin in her many years as a mental health nurse. Her previous works include LABELS, which was performed at the HamilTen Fest in April 2018, and the full version “HEATWAVE” will be at Hamilton Fringe in July, and at OutFest in September 2018. Excerpts of “THE MENNO PLAY” were featured at IMPACT 17 and it will be produced by OPIA Theatre Collective in October of 2018. In addition, Erika co-facilitates Feminista, a female playwright’s unit in Hamilton with Cassidy Hicks.

Theatre for The Soul - Inner Battle

Theatre For The Soul is a theatre academy and production company that promotes the expression of self and the mirroring of real life through the performing arts. We want to make sure that the plays we write and produce not only entertain but make people think. Keeping that in mind, Sandi Robertson-Brooks wanted to write a play that people could relate to and could see themselves in those situations. She liked the idea of playing around with the concept of self talk and self confidence. Many people will deal with confidence issues at some point in their life and for some it is a daily battle. Inner Battle gives a glimpse of what that battle can be like by showing the conflict between the Inner and Outer self. The two characters on stage are two parts of the same person and are struggling to get to a place of self love and acceptance.

The two actresses in the show also happen to be the two co-founders of Theatre for the Soul. Despite having many acting experiences individually this is the first play that they are able to be acting in together. Sandi plays Inner self and wrote and directed the show. Paige Lacroix plays Outer self. They both are excited to be able to bring this show to live and hope that you will be able to see yourself in parts. They want people to embrace the message of self love and acceptance.

Open Heart - Normal Shmormal

Cast: Richard Beaune*, Adam Lemieux, Rebekka Gondosch

* “The participation of Richard Beaune is arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance Opera Theatre Policy (DOT).” 

Richard Beaune is delighted to return to Open Heart after collaborating on a piece for the FrostBites Festival. He has been performing, directing and creating theatre for over 30 years in venues ranging from site specific events to Canada’s largest theatres. He has performed in every province and territory across Canada in both official languages. Some highlights include directing the Dora Award winning The Belle of Winnipeg for Keystone Theatre, and the Canadian Comedy Award winning Trapped in Taffeta for Simple Truth Theatre. A graduate of the George Brown Theatre School and the York University MFA program, he has also taught at Brock University, Ryerson University’s Act II Studio, York University and George Brown College. Ultimately, his goal in life is to make you smile.

Adam is a Hamilton-based performer and is excited to reprise his role as Rhys in Normal Shmormal . Acting credits include: Your Own Sons, Same Boat Theatre;  Normal Shmormal, Open Heart (Hamilton Fringe, winner of “Best of Galleries” Award); The Distance Between Us and the Sun, The Take Up (In The Soil, Frost Bites); Missed Connection, The Take Up (Supercrawl); Julius Caesar, make.art.theatre; and others. He is a graduate from the University of Waterloo’s Drama Program and is a former member of the Hamilton Fringe’s ALERT Program and Theatre Aquarius’ Junction Creators Unit.”

Rebekka Gondosch is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin’s M.Phil. in Theatre and Performance program and Brock University’s Dramatic Arts program. Recent performances include Julie in Perfect Wedding with the Village Players, Toronto and Lily St. Regis in Theatre Ancaster’s production of Annie. She works as both an actor and a high school Drama and English teacher. She is delighted to be part of the cast of Normal Shmormal.

Kelly Wolf directed the “Best in Galleries” Normal Shmormal at Hamilton Fringe 2017.  Kelly is a theatre maker, collaborator, set and costume designer and artist educator. Trained as a designer Kelly is expanding her theatrical practice from design to direction and creation.  She is interested in exploring how the space informs the work that is created; an interesting combination of direction and design.  Most recently she has worked in collaboration to create HERE at the FrostBites Festival in Hamilton and has designed for many theatres across Canada ranging from small independent companies to the major festivals. 

Steve Hartwell – Playwright: Steve’s undiagnosed ADHD has led to a scattered working life which includes stints as a social worker, university liaison officer, contractor, scrap metal facility manager and event planner for CanStage and for the Almeida Theatre under the direction of the Evil Emperor Palpatine.  Steve studied writing at McMaster, Mohawk and George Brown College.  After the success of their collaboration on Rhys and Delphine, Steve is thrilled to be collaborating once more on this play with his wife Kelly.

Soul Gem Theatre - Thief

A one woman show about a retired Psychology Professor who is filling in for a college to a class of first year Psych students. She is nervous but determined to win over the class.  Instead of following the lesson plan, she tells the story of a little girl who grew up struggling with depression, anxiety.  At the end of the story, a student in the class calls the prof out on who the little girl in the story really is.