As part of our Performing Anxiety project, we have commissioned two opinion pieces by theatre-maker Selina Thompson and artist / activist James Leadbitter, aka the vacuum cleaner.

Selina Thompson © Jana Rumley

Hacking the Gauntlet

Theatre-maker Selina Thompson on leadership, mental health and art-making in a time of permanent crisis.

When I say I want to work from a place of care, I am saying that I do not want to work in a way that extracts from your body until you are ill, extracts from your mind until you are burnt out, and extracts from your soul until you are alienated and despair. I want to try to work with you as a human, I want you to work with me in that way too, and I want you to stay here, in the arts, if that’s where you want to be. I do not want working for me to be a gauntlet.

A group of young people on a protest march.

We Are Not the Problem

the vacuum cleaner on combining art and activism with the Balmy Army, as a group of 80 young people express their rage at the state of mental health care.

Call me radical if you want, if that makes me one I am down for that. Particularly for young people who are struggling with their mental health.