Carpe Diem in Wombat

Chris Pidd and John Walker on stage.
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The Phoenix caught up with playwright/producer Megan Rigoni ahead of the mental health play tour stopping in Wombat this Thursday.

What made you want to be involved with the play?
I wrote the play as a direct response to the alarming rate of depression and suicide in regional areas. The play is designed to tour to those areas and deliver a range of very important messages around mental health care. It is also very entertaining so it works on both levels.

What are the important messages in Carpe Diem?
The important messages are to seek professional care when needed. See your GP when you experience feelings of depression, isolation, loss, grief and anxiety and know that there is help. And talk to friends, family and colleagues about mental illness as if it were any other illness. It all helps reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourages help seeking behaviours.

Why is a mental health play tour such as Carpe Diem particularly important in drought times such as now?
It’s important to support people and communities during difficult times such as drought. The drought has placed enormous pressures on farming communities and stress often leads to feelings of loss, depression and anxiety. And Carpe Diem, apart from delivering a range of important messages provides an opportunity to socialise, relax, have a laugh and meet with friends and community. It reminds us that we are not alone.

Why would you encourage residents of the Hilltops and surrounds to attend a performance of the play?
We encourage people to see Carpe Diem. The response has been unanimous. People love the humour and the characters so brilliantly portrayed by John Walker and Chris Pidd. Theatre is a shared experience that allows the audience to relax and engage with the performance whilst reflecting on their own experiences. As well, with the support of Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network we are able to provide a free community event.

What can attendees expect from the Q and A session following the play?
The Q&A gives audiences the opportunity to share their thoughts and responses to the play. During the Q&A, the actors are very open about their own experiences of mental ill health which encourages audience members to do the same. Talking is vital in helping people deal with their feelings and allows others to offer support.

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