Arts Preview - Get Therapy, by Danielle Imara, Wednesday 29th November at the Arts Centre

The indomitable Anthony Roberts worked to bring this true story of addiction, eating disorders and depression told through a mixture of dance, song and dialogue to the Arts Centre, and although we hate to admit it, his taste IS impeccable - searingly honest, refreshingly upbeat, we're looking forward to this one! (And as it's a Wonderful Wednesday event, it's pay-what-you-can-afford. Marvellous!)

The writer of Get Therapy - Danielle Imara - was more or less ordered by her doctor to go into group therapy after becoming addicted to anti-depressants and, from her own perspective, happily accepting the situation.

The experience triggered the writing of a show infused with positivity. "Although it seemed necessary to point out some of the sad and difficult experiences people have, I wanted to show there's always the possibility of change," said Danielle. "I'm a complete optimist and like to offer positive points of view and suggest useful options.

"Music and dance scenes offer an uplifting break when the subject matter might be a bit challenging. Also, our pop video society has a shorter attention span and the short scenes reflect that as well, I think."

Get Therapy tells of Danielle's history of drug abuse and eating disorders, and while she is content to survive on anti-depressants her doctor threatens no more pills unless she agrees to group therapy. To the first meeting then with recovering addict Luke, feisty but mother-dominated Amy, therapy success Stephen and the therapist who, perhaps tellingly, keeps mum about her own experiences.

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"My background is playing gigs, mainly as a bass guitarist, and as I love to dance it stands to reason that my work as a writer and performer would be a mix of genres." said Danielle. "My performances as a singer evolved into live art pieces under the name of Nina Silvert. Then, between 2011 and 2013, I studied under Peter Brooks at Central St Martins art school at Kings Cross. It was Peter who encouraged me to include dialogue in my live art work.

"It was then I realised my work was cryptic and mystifying. No-one knew what I was on about! It was a revelation, knowing I needed words to be fully understood. So I added verbatim dialogue and suddenly I was making theatre.

"The content is a combination of lived experience and research. I use autobiographical material mainly as a way of introducing other people's stories - often people whose experiences have been much harder than my own. They're stories that I feel need to be told. A lot of the dialogue is verbatim, taken from interviews and research workshops, which I then weave into a dramatic narrative based on a combination of my own and others' experiences."

The show is directed by James Haddrell, artistic director of Greenwich Theatre. “Working on this show has been like being on a rollercoaster – in rehearsals we’ve covered some very dark material, and the next minute the characters, and the actors, are laughing, singing and dancing. This is an astonishingly personal, honest piece about the highs and lows of mental health, addiction and therapy, but I think Danielle has also written a funny, uplifting, unforgettable show.”

Danielle hopes the show will appeal to students, particularly psychology and mental health students. "It would also be great to attract mental health clients and professionals who will relate to the content, and anyone who knows anyone with emotional difficulties. And, of course, people who like music, love a good song and might be into alternative theatre."

Wednesday, November 29th, doors open 7:30pm, show starts 8pm. Pay what you can afford. Book here.