SICK, the new project from Taira Foo
Image credit: Lidia Crisafulli. Poster credit: photography & artwork by Rougedmilk, graphics by Ketteridge Creations.
Despite a national lockdown, Taira brought together professional dancers, composers, vocalists and provided outreach programmes to mental health charities. She added the expertise of psychotherapist Terry Hyde and award- winning filmmaker, Liam Hall to release a documentary about the production of her new work SICK highlighting the challenges of creating a piece about mental health during lockdown.
Joshua Pacey has created most of the original score with additional music by Harry Amies, Oliver Lodge and HIATUS.
Her new work SICK follows one man’s struggle through depression & raises awareness around mental health issues. A narrative-driven piece told through contemporary and street dance influences is a mainstream work that aims to provide hope and help to those that are at risk and their support networks.
The depression is played by ‘The Intruder’ a sinister character that manipulates the protagonist’s world. We see the struggling man face a series of events and how they can take their toll. The work also highlights the challenges that face the support networks of those that have a mental health condition and how this can in turn affect them.
Taira states “Through teaching I had noticed an increase in anxiety & depression amongst young people & experienced the suicides of two ex-students. This drove me to act utilising my dance company HINGED that I created in 2011.”
The first draft was created in January 2020 and performed at The Place, London. Further funding was awarded by Arts Council England to develop the piece further.
The day before phase 2 rehearsals the government announced a third national lockdown. Taira felt more than ever that the work needed to continue following the guidelines allowing professional rehearsals to continue under observation and so the creation proceeded.
Prior to this she had already lost her first and second rehearsal & performance venues through COVID and on New Year’s Eve desperately tried to find somewhere to rehearse. Realising a live performance was not possible they continued with the documentary and filmed the piece in the rehearsal studios.
The documentary captures rehearsal footage, interviews with cast, creatives & how it felt to create a dance work during lockdown. It will be shared with mental health charities, social media platforms and One Dance UK. This will be followed by the streaming of the filmed piece in its second phase.
As part of the project Taira worked with three mental health charities: Studio Upstairs, Inside-out & Mind, over a six-week period providing sessions to promote well-being & creativity.
She also introduced Psychotherapist Terry Hyde to work with the artists and develop their understanding of mental health.
Having just completed its second phase, the next step is to build on the piece once further funding is secured.
“I want to share the message immediately with those that would benefit with outreach programmes across the country including schools, colleges universities and mental health charities. Wherever we go we will leave a trail of hope and guidance. I visualise a map showing locations where we have helped people. A small difference can make life changing differences so our aim is to make many small differences.”
If you have been affected by anything discussed in the article and you need help, you can text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 or visit www.nidms.co.uk/mentalhealth’
For further information regarding the charities mentioned in this article, please see below:
Studio Upstairs – https://www.studioupstairs.org.uk/
Inside Out – http://www.insideoutcommunity.com/
For further information from One Dance UK Healthcare Practitioners Directory Member, Terry Hyde.
Please get in touch via: https://www.counsellingfordancers.com/
For further information from One Dance UK Choreographers Directory Member, Taira Foo. Please get in touch via: www.tairafoo.com