In the face of increased mental health problems amongst young people, we are empowering our audiences to face their traumatic moments and come out stronger.
In August 2016, a new study reported that the number of people suffering with mental health issues has risen by 10% in the last decade, with one in three teenage girls being diagnosed with depression or anxiety. Thrive is a life-affirming show which empowers young people to open up about our difficult life experiences and face them head on. Based on case studies and insights from leading Post Traumatic Growth researcher Dr Roger Bretherton, the show uses humour, movement and spoken word to explore psychological models and help audiences understand how trauma affects us and find ways of coping. By placing them in the middle of the set with actors speaking directly to them, Thrive helps audiences confront stressful situations, portraying the most challenging of emotions with courage and optimism.
Thrive is about three young people that didn't go looking for suffering, but suffering found them anyway. When Ollie, Ashleigh and Ralph are thrown together by the sudden death of someone they knew, they find themselves wrestling with the turbulent emotions that painful events throw up.
As well as theatres, we're taking the show to a range of non-theatre spaces to make it accessible for those in hard to reach areas. The set, which comprises of nine ladders that surround the audience, also acts as a lighting rig which enables Zest to deliver the same high production values in a community hall as in a theatre venue.
As a company we have spent the last 9 years working with thousands of young people across the country. We believe in the power of the arts to empower our participants and change lives. But too often we meet young people whose negative life experiences have left them feeling isolated, worthless and 'boxed in'. With a rise in young people's mental health issues reported in the media, we felt the time was right to make a show that tackled this stuff head on. How can you face difficult things but come to the other end a stronger, more hopeful person?
In this case we are focussing on grief and the subject of death and dying. But the message of the show isn't limited to dealing with grief. We want to empower our audiences to grab life with both hands, face all challenges, find strength in the face of adversity and ultimately, Thrive. This isn't a glib or naive approach, it's based on 20 years of Psychological research into a field of work called Post Traumatic Growth. Thrive is real, funny, courageous and packed full of hope.