Last month we staged the first two performances of our new show. We weren’t sure how it would be recieved. Was the science-fiction genre the right choice to address present issues or was it just plain weird? Would the non-linear storyline even make sense? Would the presentation of the characters ring true or false? We had first night nerves…
We are delighted to say that our first two audiences were themselves delighted; or perhaps ‘delighted’ is the wrong word. They became impassioned. After each show we had the idea for a ‘Reverse QnA’. Rather than answer the audiences questions we decided to ask them a few things. We also asked people to give written feedback. Here is a selection of their responses:
What was the most striking moment of the play for you and why?
Events going round in circles with no real answers or outcome. From my experience with mental health that is what it can be like a lot of the time.
There was no striking moment; rather the spiralic nature of dialogue / despair (and humour) which was cumulative.
I want to say ALL OF IT! But the moment that really brought the belly laughs and instantly the tears in my eyes was the carers’ section, as people had to physically give their lifeblood and heart for their loved ones. But there is so much more to say!
Oh my days…paying with our organs for care? How thought provoking. Where will the funding come from to care for everyone who needs it? There were elements of truth in all of it and clearly based on real experiences. It made me squirm (I’m a staff member in a MH provider unit) with the loop of dialogue with the carer.
For each of these questions we created a word cloud based on the frequency of certain words. The more frequent the word the larger and more central they appear in these summary images.
What was the most striking moment of the play for you and why?
I was not allowed to smoke in cell.
Experiences were true to some extent. For a patient, I’ve made positive relationships that have lasted over 6-10 years with health care professionals, and felt valued.
As a former carer (for a patient with brain cancer not mental health disorder) I found there to be more community support (from individuals and organisations) than shown here.
There was nothing that wasn’t!
So much was true to my own experience but I also have experienced being pushed away and not helped - trying to get support, being signposted to unsuitable therapies, being on waiting lists and then being chucked back out to the start of the ‘machine’.
It rang a bit too true at times.
The stereotype of the counselors.
As an American it was a fascinating but unfamiliar journey through the British health care system.
Now that you have seen the play who do you think should see it next?
If you were in hospital what would you want for yourself?
Anyone regardless of nurse, doctor, patients or someone who understands and values empathy. Or at least, having sympathy.
I want the right to smoke!
More links with community and family and better preparation for going back gome. I felt very isolated from my usual set-up when in hospital. I would want more of a link with carers and family, and supporting them and involving and respecting their role.
A kind ear and clear ways of getting back to health.
Person-centred care and treatment.
Dignity, respect, compassion.
Understanding, Kindness, Free will.
Someone to listen, to try and understand what’s in my head. I would want someone to just ask if I was OK by sitting me down with a cup of tea, as maybe if that had happened I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Consistency of care rather than a rapidly changing programme. The opportunity to choose from a spectrum of care options, because having faith in the treatment matters, and different methods work for different people.
Compassion and to be treated as a person
We also had some great feedback on social media -
Congratulations - excellent production tonight - take it out on tour please?
Still whirring with thoughts and emotion from In/Hospitable tonight. The excellence of the show as a piece of art AND as an ongoing conversation about important issues that affect us all...just tremendous. Congrats folks!
My head and my heart is all a buzz with the incredible performance I’ve just seen
@outofcharactertheatre deliver! Really struggling to find words that will do it justice, but
this is not just the best production I’ve seen of the company’s, but everything I want
theatre to be...compelling, clever, articulate and challenging with an ineffable realness
unique to this company.
Absolutely spectacular performance capturing the political restraints, limitations, emotional, moral and ethical struggles faces by people accessing, working or caring for people in mental health services. Bravo! Can’t wait to see this progress
Performance of IN/Hospitable last night really shook the audience. So much truth. Out of Character has become such a strong repertory company now
As IN/Hospitable grows and develops across next couple of years it can really make a difference to thinking around mental health in York and the new hospital. 'The play's the thing!'
It was tremendous…So glad I went. Just as good as 'Objects of Terror', powerful, poignant and incredibly moving and scarily truthful. The cast get better and better every time I see them. I think you should get someone from the BBC to see these two plays. They are totally relevant and maybe if the right people see them, discussion will be generated and much needed changes brought about.
What an absolutely amazing performance last night. Challenging, thought provoking and raw. Outstanding performances- a beautiful piece of theatre that needs to be seen. #theatrecanmakechange
Theatre can, indeed make change. We also intend to change our theatre based on feedback and more interviews and workshops over the coming year. The good news is that due, to popular demand, we will be performing this version of the show on the 19th September at 1.00 & 7.30 in Quad South Hall at York St John, University. Information on tickets soon! We recommend you book early!
Interviews and workshops have already started for the ‘new’ version of In/Hospitable in which we will see different scenes as our characters step into different universes. We hope this version of the show will be ready for June 2019.