New play Men Don’t Talk by Clare Prenton explores masculinity, mental health and Men’s Sheds, as part of its Scottish tour this autumn.

Starring Scottish actor Billy Mack, Men Don’t Talk is announced during Mental Health Awareness Week. Produced by Genesis Theatre Productions, it is part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, presented in partnership with Scottish Men’s Shed Association and Luminate.

In a week that marks Mental Health Awareness Week, and sees the men’s mental health charity Men’s Sheds secure funding in Scotland, Genesis Theatre Productions is proud to announce details about new play Men Don’t Talk.

This autumn, theatre maker Clare Prenton presents her new play Men Don’t Talk – a moving and poignant production that explores that very myth, as part of a Scottish tour that runs from Friday 18 October – Tuesday 19 November.

Alongside being spotlighted in Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Men Don’t Talk will tour to Mull, Cumbernauld, the Borders, Peebles, Aberdeen, Orkney, Aberdeenshire, Paisley, Edinburgh and Cromarty, with further dates to be announced.

Title Men Don't Talk above a wooden bird box with a duck in front of it.

Starring stalwarts of Scottish theatre, actor Billy Mack is joined alongside Dougal Lee and Greg Powrie in a production that sees three men find banter, bird boxes and biscuits within a fictional men’s shed that celebrates companionship, camaraderie … and custard creams.

Inspired by real men’s stories, Men Don’t Talk was written by Prenton following cups of tea, cake and spirited conversations with real ‘shedders’ who participate in community workshops hosted by the Scottish Men’s Shed Association (SMSA).

Designed to provide opportunities to work together in a way that contributes to community development, the Scottish Men’s Shed Association’s overall aim is to support men coming together in a way that impacts positively on their health, wellbeing and education.

The moving production will invite audiences into a fictional men’s shed to address the importance of men coming together to talk about their emotions, feelings, trials and tribulations to promote positive masculinity.

Presented as part of Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, in partnership with Scottish Men’s Shed Association and Luminate, Men Don’t Talk has been praised in the Scottish Parliament for promoting the benefits of this growing mental health and wellbeing movement.

This comes in the same year as the Scottish Government held a vital round table with practitioners and leaders who are working to promote positive masculinity in their broader approach to achieving equality across Scotland’s communities, and in a week that sees the Men’s Sheds secure a year’s funding in Scotland.

Talking about Men Don’t Talk, writer and director Clare Prenton, said:

It’s really gratifying and exciting to see a play that began with chats over a cuppa in my local Men’s Shed grow into a full length play, touring Scotland. The message it aims to convey is that it’s good for men to talk, and there are spaces for that across the shed network.

It’s been a privilege to partner with Scottish Men’s Shed Association (SMSA), Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) and Luminate to get this important message out there. If theatre can play a part in helping one man cross a threshold into a shed then the play has played its small part in putting men’s health and wellbeing, and suicide prevention, in the cultural conversation.

Producer of Men Don’t Talk and Founder of Genesis Theatre Productions Michelle McKay, added:

‘I am delighted that the first show produced by Genesis Theatre Productions is such an important one. With the high rates of male suicides in Scotland, the tour aims to highlight the importance of expressing emotions, whilst educating, entertaining and raising awareness of spaces like Men’s Sheds.

Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA) Chief Executive Officer Jason Schroeder said:

As Scotland’s largest and most successful men’s health and wellbeing charity, the SMSA supports the play Men Don’t Talk wholeheartedly, and we encourage everyone to see the play to get a deeper understanding and what they can do to support themselves and loved ones.

To help create and raise the awareness of the plight men have found themselves in with the ‘strong and silent’ type generic cultural model, this play highlights the inherited situation and, more importantly, a new pathway now available through Scottish Men’s Sheds to support the healthy change so desperately required for men in Scotland.

Andrew Eaton Lewis of the Mental Health Foundation said:

We’re delighted to include the Scottish tour of Men Don’t Talk, as part of Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival’s 2024 programme. Our festival theme this year is ‘In/Visible’, and we’re interested in exploring which aspects of our mental health we keep hidden.

Clare Prenton’s play, in which a group of men defy the stigma surrounding male mental health to open up about difficult and painful experiences, is an important and valuable part of that conversation.

Developed by producer Michelle McKay under her new company Genesis Theatre Productions, Men Don’t Talk is supported by Creative Scotland Touring Fund and An Tobar and Mull Theatre.

To find out the full details and touring information for Men Don’t Talk, visit:
www.genesistheatreproductions.co.uk.


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