SMHAF is proud to present a short extract of TRACE, by Abi Pirani. Originally planned to be shown in a theatrical iteration for adults at this year's festival, TRACE combines puppetry, poetry and music to explore Pirani's own story of Adverse Childhood Experiences. The film is 16+.


"When I turned sixty five years ago I decided to begin puppetry. As an artist and writer it was a good way to include all my skills. I’ve been a paper-cutter for over fifty years and love shadow puppetry.


I called myself ‘Rough-cut Puppets' and created three shows for children, but all the time there was an idea for a different show, one for adults, looking at my personal story. With the ongoing support of mental health charity See Me, my co-puppeteer Emma King and facilitator Philippa Clark, I’ve been developing TRACE for the last three years.


TRACE looks at the longterm impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), particularly on mental health. Created as a live show, the pandemic has led me down a different path. My first film, with specially created soundtrack, has come from my living room, a solo effort!


One of the main themes is dissociation, the ability of people to separate themselves as a survival tactic. So in the film there are a number of girls in blue dresses, and women who are blue, all parts of one person. It is the journey of this girl/woman that you will see here."


Abi Pirani

Abi Pirani also spoke to Maeve Grindall, Social Movement Support Officer at See Me, about the show on Facebook Live. You can watch the interview here.