Mullingar Arts Centre revue aims at lifting mental health stigma

The appropriately-named Box of Frogs is to play in the Mullingar Arts Centre at the end of this month as part of a newly launched national campaign to reduce the stigma around discussing mental health.

Local woman Mary McEvoy is one of a three-handed cast who will share their stories of personal experience with a mental health issue as part of the Green Ribbon campaign.

Mary, who lives just outside Delvin, will take to the stage with comedian John Moynes, and Newstalk presenter Dil Wickremasinghe in the Arts Centre at 8pm on Wednesday May 29.

Ms McEvoy, one of the best-known actresses in Ireland over the last 30 years, has a personal story of anxiety and depression that forms the basis of her part of the show.

“I have no shame about my condition at all. I can work perfectly well through it, but my challenge has been convincing other people I can work perfectly well through it,” said Mary.

“It’s a happy play about being sad,” said director, Caroline Fitzgerald.

“Box of Frogs sets out to take an irreverent and rollicking look at the Irish approach to mental health using the authentic material from the cast’s real life experiences in a mixture of stories, sketches, and songs demystifying, debunking and ultimately, having a laugh with what really goes on inside our heads,” she continued.

This month, the National Mental Health Stigma Reduction Partnership - See Change - and its 80 partner groups, are launching a major national campaign to get people talking openly about mental health issues.

Throughout May, 150,000 free green ribbons will be distributed nationwide with “the aim of sparking a national conversation about mental health”, according to Kahlil Thompson-Coyle, the See Change campaign manager.

“Wearing the green ribbon during the month of May is a simple way of showing your support for the campaign, and leaving the door open for a conversation on mental health,” she added.

“Just like the pink ribbon became a powerful symbol for breast cancer awareness, this lime green ribbon has been established in North America as an international symbol for mental health awareness,” concluded Ms Thompson-Coyle.

The Mullingar date is just one of an 11-theatre run across the country, and tickets are available from the Arts Centre and its website for €10.

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