On June 3rd the Arts for the Blues participants and artists performed the show they had created through the programme, Together Un/tethered, for the first time at Liverpool Lighthouse to a small audience of friends, family, community members, academics and health professionals.
Arts for the Blues is a 10-year Edge Hill University research project. This performance project, based at Liverpool Lighthouse and part-funded by Arts Council England is based on Arts for the Blues practice. It involves people with mild to moderate depression taking part in community-based, therapy-informed creative group sessions alongside the project's artists and Edge Hill researchers.
Emerging from these sessions, funded in part by Arts Council England, is an immersive and thought-provoking show that interweaves movement, spoken word, innovative soundscape, projection and a live cellist.
Members of the audience shared the following responses from the show:
“I didn’t want it to end”
“It was wonderful, so powerful”
“You’re absolutely awesome, all of you. With the movement, the music, the narrative, the projection. I was blown away”
The project has had a dramatic impact for many participants too. Roger is a participant who was referred to the programme by his social prescribing link worker at the GP. He experiences depression and anxiety and has struggled for a number of years. He talks movingly in the show about his experiences with mental health and the impact it has had on his life. Below is what he has shared about the impact that the Arts for the Blues project has had for him.
“I sit and think and wonder, what I would have done without this place, because I look forward to every Wednesday. People say, well, what do you do, and I say, “colour in” and, well, do you know what, colouring in helps. This is what I’m telling myself, if you can do this, you know, there’s options there. I can’t sing enough praises about this place, it’s been the making of me, I believe. Started going on the bus now, take the dog out and just walk around town for a bit, it’s just small, small steps. You know, that’s what people say and I believe that.
And as I said to you earlier, I said, you’ve got to say yes to everything. And if they want me to do something in the play, I’m going to do it, ‘cos I’ve achieved something. [What I get from the programme is] friendship and comradery, humour and learning from other people. And seeing how aspects hit them in certain areas, and that’s good for you, you know, ‘cos I know I’m not alone.
When I look back it is, yeah, ‘cos I wouldn’t speak, I would not look people in the eyes. But that’s all due to this, I wouldn’t be here, I’d have just been festering in the house. So yeah, I look forward to it, can’t say no more, couldn’t big it up any more. But the people are lovely, that’s the main aspect for me. And they listen, they do listen.”
The show is going on to tour locations in the North West – keep an eye on our social media to see future performance dates.
For more on Arts for the Blues check the pdf below