Looking back...moving forward
Reflections on 2017 
By Ekanem Hines - Know My Mind director / founder 

By Ekanem Hines - Know My Mind director / founder 

I would first like to give thanks and praises to God Almighty for taking me through 2017 to 2018...a matter I simply cannot take for granted.

As the producer/director of the play “So U Think I'm Crazy?” (SUTIC) and with a background in social work practice, it is inevitable that whether overt, or covert, conscious or unconscious, reflective practice would be an integral part of the thinking and execution of the play.

Reflective practice is a popular ‘buzz word’ in social work. It simply means to look back at what you have done with a critical eye learning from all aspect of ones work to make improvements in the future.

As the Director / Producer of Know My Mind’s (KMM) play (So U Think I’m Crazy?) I would like to encourage cast and audience members to explore their own personal experiences, and to analyse their viewpoints, actions and emotions. This acts as not only points for personal development but enhances and sharpens reality.

Intense, refreshing, challenging and exploratory  

In 2017 within the KMM theatre company, we had a new creative director and a new lead cast member. Change is inevitable, refreshing and brings different styles of working. 

We also did nine  live performances of the play 'So U Think I'm Crazy?'  Based on feedback, the popularity of the production has been its authenticity and the deep portrayal of raw emotions. This is the common thread throughout the play as it weaves itself through political controversial issues linking physical, spiritual, emotional trauma to mental-ill health. 

Power from the 'word of mouth'

2017 was a year where we learnt about the power of the community voice. For example, through word of month and building on our contacts,  Black Thrive stepped forward and sponsored one day of our three-day sold out live performances at The Oval House Theatre, London in September.

Our performance at The Broadway Theatre, Catford, in October also had very little marketing to promote play but we had sold-out performances for both matinee and evening shows. We also made a decision to donate 20 free tickets to service users and carers for the Catford performance. The more you give, the more you get back. The seed you sow you will surely reap.

A leap of faith

KMM was disappointed not to secure the Big Lottery Funding, which was going to financially support the overall cost of running our therapeutic theatre performances, paying cast members etc.  It was advised to cancel the booking because of the financial restraints. 

However, we took a’ leap of faith’ and stood our ground and miraculously had an unexpected sponsor for one of our performances with a fantastic packed audience for three days. 

Spreading our wings...

In 2017 there was an enormous interest in the play promoted by reviews, interviews, radio, TV, word of mouth and social media like Facebook and Twitter. This included:

Edinburgh conference - poster competition – cast members travelled to The Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland after winning a poster competition promoting our objectives and play (see below).

London Live - cast members attended a short TV interview highlighting aspects of the play.

Galaxy Radio – an interview about mental health, services in the community, and child sex abuse.

The Voice Newspaper – an interview with the Voice newspaper promoting the play

Ebony Online.Net – an interview promoting the play

Mental Health Today magazine and website – an review of the play following the performance at the Oval Theatre, London

Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Toni Letts – a written review of the play from the Mayor of Croydon the after watching a performance at Utopia Theatre, Croydon (see below).

TV online interview with Pastor Ezekiel – an interview about the play and mental health

Review by Pastor Ronald A Nathan – a written review from a Christian perspective about the play following the Oval Theatre London performance (see below).

2018...moving forward

Audience members and practitioners have now discovered the impact of our play So U Think I’m Crazy? and have invited us to perform, have forum / panel discussions, and provide training in the community and workplace in 2018. This is a significant step for us – a journey where theatre becomes policy.

We’re also going to explore the possibility of making So U think I’m Crazy into a short film / documentary, launch part 2 of the play, and celebrate four years of KMM with a special conference event. Keep an eye on our website for more information.

With much progress and prospects for 2018 on the horizon, it’s important to keep our feet firmly on the ground. Not everything was glitz and glamorous in 2017. There were some challenges and difficult decisions, which will also be the case for the year ahead. But this is all part of the journey of learning; keeping it real, telling it like it is, and keeping the faith. 

I want to finish by thanking everyone for your making Know My Mind happen, its growth and reaching higher heights…Thanks to our cast members (past and present) for their commitment and dedication…to all our supporters…to our audience…and of course…We give the highest thanks to Almighty God. Thank you!

By Ekanem Hines - Know My Mind director / founder 
(Video reflection also available - see above)

Letter from Mayor of Croydon
Review of the play - So u think I'm crazy?
By Councillor Toni Letts - Mayor of Croydon 

Why bring a Mental Health play into a 'Black Church'? 

This is certainly a legitimate question given the fact that many Christians reflect a fear of addressing mental health problems although psychological illnesses were addressed within the bible.

Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups are disproportionately reflected in custodial sentencing in the prison system and in mental health institutions. BAME persons are routinely taser-ed within mental health institutions. BAME persons are over prescribed excessively strong drugs. Please note that even this oppressive use of Mental Health procedures is under investigation by the United Nations. 

All of these seek to undermine our quality of life as a community and breakup the family unit. Black-majority Churches must vociferously express its displeasure with the current state of affairs in the United Kingdom. It must also begin and or intensify its outreach to bring health and wellness to our community. Through partnership with local mental health providers and in collaboration with Black mental health professionals we must response to this threat to our well-being. 

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, also known as the Freedom Church, the church of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass must be involved in self-emancipation from mental slavery. We bring this play to our congregation and community because it is the right thing to do! 

By Rev. Ronald A. Nathan
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Battersea, London

So U Think I'm Crazy performed at the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in October 2017.

"Thank you for participating in the Poster Exhibition at this year’s event. We have received lots of positive feedback with regards to this aspect of the Congress."
​(2017 International Congress Peer Review Committee)

Presentation at the Psychiatrists International Congress  
(Scotland - June 2017) 

After winning an academic educational poster exhibition competition about mental health, Know My Mind was invited to attend the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland on 26 June 2017. 
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Top left: foyer area at the Edinburgh International Congress 2017

Top right: KMM director Ekanem Hines with Dr Aggrey Burke  is a senior lecturer, consultant psychiatrist and specialist in Transcultural Psychiatry on Racism and Mental Health

Bottom: KMM director Ekanem Hines with educational poster based on the play (So U Think I'm Crazy) at the Congress.