New play exploring men’s mental health to tour Leeds and Wakefield

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Red Ladder Theatre Company has been awarded £10,000 to develop a new touring play tackling men’s mental health.

Leeds Community Foundation has presented a Men’s Suicide Prevention Grant, funded by Leeds City Council, to the theatre company towards the development of a new play, The Parting Glass. The performance will tour into non-theatre venues including pubs, community centres, sports clubs and working men’s clubs from September 2019. Each event will also include a post-show Q&A session run by a mental health specialist.

The play will be a development of The Life and Soul, a short one-man production written by Leeds playwright Chris O’Connor, which Red Ladder has been touring nationally since 2016. The play - inspired by a period of ill mental health that the writer experienced himself - explores the culture of silence that surrounds men’s mental health and raises awareness of the high rates of suicide in men.

Rod Dixon, artistic director, said: “We’re thrilled to be developing a new play with funding from Leeds City Council. Commissioning and touring The Parting Glass will allow us to engage with a wide variety of people in their own local environments, encouraging dialogue in an informal, entertaining and safe way and helping to break down the barriers that can prevent men from opening up about their mental health.”

The Parting Glass will tour non-theatre venues in Leeds, Barnsley and Wakefield in September, with a national tour of theatres and community spaces following in spring 2020.