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Mental Health through acting training

"This was the best thing that has happened in the 9 years I've been working

at the centre; these 4 or 5 weeks changed everything." 

Iman Hamdi, Social Centre Manager, NHS Horton Mental Health Rehab, UK


At its core, acting is the art of thinking the thoughts of another human being.  In our work with mental health patients, through a series of simple and enjoyable exercises, we teach the fundamentals of how humans think, what creates our thoughts, and how we can begin to choose our own thought processes. By creating other characters in acting, we get insight into our own behaviors, patterns that are stuck in our subconscious, and new pathways of thinking.


"Wonderful work, I don't know how you managed to produce this. A real service." 

Dr Joseph Pillai, Consultant Psychiatrist


In our work with individuals with chronic mental health issues, we start by tuning them into their imaginations, providing them a sense of competence and confidence. From there, we explore the thoughts of charactesr and teach them the discipline of generating and holding a particular thoughts and way of relating to another, as it relates to their role in a play, but also as it relates to how they behave in real life situations.  The process is joyous and entertaining, and the outcomes are improved independence, confidence, and communicatiions skills for participants.


“There is a new sense of respect and understanding between the staff and residents.  The staff have seen what the people they care for can achieve, what they are capable of – it has humanised them.” 

Dr Shirish Bhatkal, Consultant in Rehabilitation Psychiatry


Please enjoy the videos, images and stories below of some of our projects.  We hope to see your community here soon! 

"Alex is not just directing a play but healing their souls with his attitude, his stunning intelligence and his ability to get out of difficult situations with humour and tact. The lads did not figure him out right away but when they did they accepted Alex's authority and listened to him absolutely." 

Drugoi, Russia’s top blogger

"Wonderful work, I don't know how you managed to produce this. A real service."

Dr. Joseph Pillai, Consultant Psychiatrist


"Very important work"

Professor Peter Fonagy OBE

Thinking in a New Way:  Film Project

The following videos are from a series of acting workshops and rehearsals over 6 weeks at NHS Horton Haven Rehabilitation Unit for people with long-term chronic mental health issues. A group of residents were taught acting using techniques from the Science of Acting. The characters, story and scenes were then developed through improvisations.


After the  project, staff commented that general relations and morale in the whole center improved.  Some participants moved on much faster than expected in their care pathway as a result of the project.  On the second project many more staff got involved, having seen the results of the first year.  Staff reported huge impact on the participants: people who had been monosyllabic for months were suddenly engaged and very communicative; there was a reduction in symptoms of psychosis and schizoaffective disorders; isolated individuals were engaged, smiling and laughing; staff-resident relations relaxed and improved. 

Watch how participants create the video
Watch the film they made
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