MENtality is an ambitious project dreamt up by Josephine Larsen and Neville Connor. Our aim is to offer a series of free workshops exploring the roles men play in society today, culminating in a two day live theatrical event (Torbay SPRING 2019) and a documentary film.
WHY? Josephine explains: "The idea for the project arose out of a conversation with Neville Connor, who was attending my Acting & Impro classes at the time, and who also happens to work as a Senior Health Coach for the NHS in the Torbay area. I was shocked when he drew my attention to statistics showing that 3 out of 4 suicides today are male and that male suicide rates are at an all-time recorded high. Further statistics show that the academic levels of young men are falling behind in comparison with those of young women.
Together we decided to start an open conversation about what is actually going on in the minds and hearts of men in the 21st Century... the ultimate question being: "How can men and women communicate better with one another?"
WHAT? "We have to first secure funding to run the planned series of open workshops with members of the TORBAY community, where we will gather ideas, stories and material for the planned two day event. An open audition will be held to find diverse participants, who will be men of all ages (16yrs +), cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations (both actors and non-actors). We welcome those who haven’t necessarily had anything to do with theatre or the arts before!
The two day event will include:
an exhibition with film documentation/images leading up to the event, supported by general information, statistics and info about existing helplines and local group initiatives that support men today.
a talent competition for local artists creating themed sculptures, visual arts and installations
an open mic platform for male poets, musicians, writers (artists of all kinds)
stage performances of improvised scenes around the theme of being a man in the world today
a short play of relevant content
a HAKA dance (participants will receive a day of coaching from a HAKA dance expert)
5 male heroes/leaders/entrepreneurs will speak about their own recovery from MH issues and the outreach work they do
a film and film footage of relevant content to stimulate thoughts and ideas
a Q&A forum/debate, where audiences are invited to ask questions and discuss ideas
WHO? Neville Connor and Josephine Larsen will be reaching out to key individuals in the Torbay area for advice, collaboration and partnerships. Primarily we will be speaking with men's groups that deal with MH issues. However, our target audiences will be both men and women (as this subject surely lies at the heart of all our concerns). The lower age restriction (16yrs+) is because of the potential adult content of discussions.
WHEN and WHERE? Depending on whether we get the funding or not ... our hope is to stage the auditions in February 2019, which will be followed by a series of workshops, culminating in the planned two day event in early SUMMER 2019.
Originally I am from inner city Birmingham, where I lived until my late teens before leaving to join the Army. I served in the Royal Logistics Corps for 5 years, where I believe I gained invaluable experience and discipline and encouragement to develop a strong work ethic.
After leaving the Army I used the trade qualifications as a chef to travel to many places around the world and Europe. I was also able to work with a variety of people including Royalty, corporate clients, Health Care clients, offenders, restaurateurs and people with Learning Disabilities to name but a few. To compliment my passion for healthy food and fitness I trained to become a personal trainer, which enables me to empower my clients and to improve their health and well-being.
I now currently work as Senior Health Coach for the NHS and within my role I work alongside a very inspirational team who support many people in the community. This includes physical activity, healthy eating, Diabetes Education, event coordination, training and health promotion.
Over the last few years I have also been very focused on pursuing my passion to work as a professional actor and have gained some great experiences within this skill set and this fascinating industry. I attended Identity School of Drama London, International School of Screen Acting and a variety of courses/classes, including Josephine Larsen’s very unique Acting and Improvisation classes in Totnes. This has enabled me to be fortunate enough to work in Theatre, Film and TV.
However my two most important achievements in life are my two daughters who keep me young, motivated, hopeful and smiling. I believe many of my life experiences have fuelled my passion and creativity in acting. This powerful, ancient craft has helped me to develop and express myself through art and I believe it can do the same for many people.
By working with Josephine and further developing the exciting possibilities of this type of new LIVE THEATRE EVENT, I believe we can address many of the issues that affect our community.