Hearing Voices, Clare Summerskill, 2010, 86 mins.
What really goes on behind the locked doors of a psychiatric hospital? After a suicide attempt, Clare Summerskill spent two months in such a place. She later returned and created a play from interviews she conducted with six of her her fellow patients, combined with extracts from the writer’s own diary about her time on the ward. The result was a unique and powerful piece of verbatim theatre, exploring the experiences of Mental Health Service Users behind locked doors.
HEARING VOICES toured to theatres in England for five weeks in the Spring of 2010, funded by Arts Council England. Clare Summerskill appeared in the show alongside members of her theatre company, ARTEMIS. The play was directed by Lorae Parry and the Set and Costume Designer was Sophia Lovell Smith. Clare later received support from UnLtd and “a few generous individuals” to create the filmed version that we are showing this evening.
The stories that are told in this film represent the “voices” of the patients that were never heard by the consultants or the nurses on the ward. This ground- breaking production reveals the views and personal histories of a group of people who are often hidden and excluded from mainstream society, and allows their voices to finally be heard.
The play “HEARING VOICES” by Clare Summerskill has been published by Tollington Press (2010), cost £8.99 plus postage.
Presented in association with Artemis Theatre Company