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Listen: Can the arts help people better understand mental illness?

We speak to one of the creators of new ballet Cassandra, and to a consultant psychiatrist, about understanding and representing psychosis on stage.

By Elizabeth Davis (Former Editorial Assistant)

9 October 2014 at 12.23pm | Comment on this article

Singer-songwriter and composer Ana Silvera knows all too well the effect a diagnosis of psychosis can have on an individual, as well as their family and friends: her older brother was committed to a psychiatric ward when he was 15.

‘Seeing someone so close to me within the mental health system had a huge impact on me. I think through my work I have been trying to explore that state to put myself in his shoes, creatively, but also to explore how society reacts to someone in that state,’ she explained in the podcast.

Silvera has written the music for Cassandra, a new ballet which has been choreographed by former Royal Ballet First Artist Ludovic Ondiviela and which integrates filmed material by Kate Church into the performance. The production aims to explore perceptions of mental illness and what it means to be ‘mad’.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Mark Salter has been working with the Cassandra production team. In this podcast, he talks about the role that the arts can play in helping people understand mental health:

‘I would say that art is the best hope we’ve got when it comes to trying to elucidate and clarify the dark, frightening side of the world. Good art is something that takes you to an uncomfortable place and brings you back feeling safer and wiser as a result.’

Ana Silvera is generously supported by PRS for Music Foundation and Women Make Music. 

By Elizabeth Davis (Former Editorial Assistant)

9 October 2014 at 12.23pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged Ana Silvera, arts, by Ludovic Ondiviela, Cassandra, hospital, illness, interview, Kate Church, listen, mental health, myth, podcast, Production, psychiatry

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