Richard Taunton Student’s Directing Debut Highlights the Importance of Mental Heath Support

In a time where #Brew Monday and #Timetotalk have been recently trending across the UK, a student-led directing debut at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College, to a sold-out audience, continues to highlight the importance of mental health support and access to talking therapies.

The piece, titled ‘Inside a Mind’ was written and directed by student Crystal Turner-Brightman, who currently studies Performing Arts at Richard Taunton. The partially auto-biographical piece looks at the journey of Iris, whose experience of PTSD and counselling sessions unfolds on stage along with her own story of how she came to be there. The production invites the audience to go inside Iris’s mind and see the world through the eyes of someone who is suffering from trauma, and how they come to terms with it.

Crystal, who was diagnosed with PTSD after a traumatic accident which left her with third-degree burns across her stomach and left upper arm, used her love of performing arts and poetry during her recovery as a way to express her emotions. Her production of ‘Inside a Mind’ was devised to educate others on the effects of PTSD and how the ways it can impact someone’s life.

The former Regents Park Community College student Crystal used her own experiences to create the wholly student-led theatre piece as part of her Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). The EPQ enables students to independently explore and create a piece of work in a field that they are interested in, at the same time as developing skills in planning, research and evaluation whilst being supported by a tutor.

Crystal said;

“It’s been such a great opportunity to get my teeth stuck into something that I am really passionate about. To be given the creative freedom to explore things that I might not necessarily look at in class has been great. The support from my tutor has been amazing, and their trust in my abilities has been a great confidence booster. I feel so proud to have led this project and hope I have been able to educate our audience members a little more about PTSD and the effect it can have on a person”

Crystal plans to continue her studies in Theatre and has applied to numerous drama schools and universities for next year.

“Doing this project really has cemented in my mind that making theatre is the route that I want to take after college. Working collaboratively with others to create meaningful work with an important message has been an amazing process, and I can’t wait to continue to develop my devising and scriptwriting skills going forward”

Kirsty MacGregor, Head of Performing Arts and Crystal’s tutor said:

“We’re so proud of Crystal and everything she has achieved this year, her hard work has really paid off, which shows from the sold out performance! She’s a natural director and we can’t wait to see her work develop when she heads off to University next year.”