A Network of Writing and Community Publishers

High Peak Writers

01 May 2012

Open Up Initiative

 - The professional recording of the radio play, The Last Laugh,
   written by High Peak Writers, Buxton

Open Up gives people who have experienced mental health issues the opportunity to tackle mental health discrimination within their communities. The project asks people to come forward with their anti-discrimination ideas and provides advice, mentoring and
training to help them to put their plans into action. Support is delivered regionally by people who have experienced mental health problems themselves, who use their knowledge and understanding to reach out to people in similar situations in their local
areas. Open Up is a project of Mind. It is part of the time-to-change programme and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

High Peak Writers successfully bid for funding through the Open Up Initiatives’ Scheme, to record the radio play, The Last Laugh, professionally, engaging as many mental health service-users as possible, and attach the sound recording to their website: www.high-peak-writers.btck.com.

The play was written in 2003/4 with the aid of an Awards for All grant and the help of a local playwright, Alan Ogden, as well as GCSE pupils and Claire Thompson, Head of Drama, at Buxton Community School. The play fits in with the ‘time to change’ Campaign, launched by all the major mental health charities in January 2009, to challenge the stigma associated with mental distress and educate people about mental illness.

The play was co-authored by the following: Louise Glasscoe, Rob Hanlon, Mo Law, Roger Lill, Premraja aka Paul Rees, and Pat Thompson, who were all, at the time it was
written, members of High Peak Writers. The actors in this recording are as follows: Rhiannon Prytherch, (Jackie), Nick Whitehead (Jimmy and Dr Fitzwilliam), Boswell Park (Paulo), Joe Kelly (Luke) Rachel Wood (Susan) Francesca Hulme (Laura) Pat Thompson (Nurse Stella) Louise Glasscoe (Maggie and Nurse Colleen), and voices by Jane Soper, Lucy Baldwin, Rachel Wood and Louise Glasscoe.

The launch of the website and the radio play will take place from 10.30am-1.30pm,
in collaboration with High Peak Community Arts, in Buxton Library, Kents Bank Road, on Saturday 9 October 2010, the day before World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2010. Free food will be available, catering for all tastes, and everyone is welcome.

Our thanks go to everyone who has been involved in this project and the stage version of the play, particularly to Sarah Males and all the Corbar View Community Mental Health Team, Liz Fletcher and all those at High Peak CVS, Caroline Small, the Director of the stage version of the play and all the actors, mental health service-users and writers
involved, as well as Alan Ogden, who helped so much with the writing of the play, and also particularly to Nick Hollis, the sound engineer, for his exceptional patience and understanding. Pat Thompson and I would also like to thank all the Open Up Team and all the other initiative team members who have been so helpful and supportive. We would also like to thank Open Up for generously funding this project.

This play is dedicated to the memory of Prem, who sadly died in 2009, and was Chair of High Peak Writers from 2004-2009.

Louise Glasscoe

Former Secretary,
High Peak Writers

Producer, The Last Laugh

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