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The two organisations took part in the global awareness campaign and have turned the spotlight on mental health by co-hosting an event at The Lowry in Salford Quays.
The event went behind the scenes of Witness, Company Chameleon’s latest new production, which draws from co-Artistic Director, Kevin Edward Turner’s personal experience of Bipolar.
Kevin Edward Turner, co-Artistic Director of Company Chameleon said: “We’re delighted to partner with 42nd Street for this year’s World Mental Health Day. Through going behind the scenes and exploring the themes within Witness, we hope the event will inspire new and creative perspectives on why mental health matters. Witness draws upon my own experience of Bipolar and the impact it has had on me and those closest to me. In making the work, I want to contribute towards the debate and understanding around mental health, and challenge preconceived notions of what is still in some ways, a taboo subject.”
Along with a behind the scenes look into the making of Witness and a preview performance of a section of the work, this included an opportunity to observe a young people’s dance workshop and take part in a Q&A session. Representatives from Company Chameleon and 42nd Street formed a Q&A panel and took questions from the audience.
Simone Spray, Chief Executive of 42nd Street, said: “We’re excited to be working with Company Chameleon for World Mental Health Day. The way Kevin has used his art form to tell his own personal story is incredibly inspiring, and shows how the arts have the power to shape perceptions and communicate lived experience of mental health difficulties and recovery. We hope the event sparks discussion about the role of the arts both as a way of raising awareness of mental health issues and also as a powerful tool for recovery and maintaining mental wellbeing.
The event took place ahead of the world premiere and UK tour of Witness, which began on 19th October at The House at Plymouth University and culminates at The Lowry on 29th and 30th November. A spring nationwide tour will also follow.
For 42nd Street, the event happened ahead of the opening, in December, of its new initiative; The Horsfall. Situated in Ancoats, Manchester, this new arts space will deliver a programme aimed primarily at 13-25 year olds and dedicated to exploring creative new approaches to improving young people’s mental health and well-being and raising awareness of the issues that they face. The Horsfall will expand 42nd Street’s existing offer to the increasing numbers of young people that are seeking the organisation’s help.
About Company Chameleon
Based in Manchester, Company Chameleon is a touring dance theatre company, which produces inspiring and original productions, which tour across the UK and the world.
Company Chameleon began when Anthony Missen and Kevin Edward Turner met at Trafford Youth Dance Theatre in the mid-1990s. Two ordinary lads from Manchester, they shared an ambition to dance professionally for a living. After developing their talent at Trafford, they went on to train at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and after graduating travelled extensively to work with some of the most innovative dance companies and choreographers in the world.
They returned home to Manchester in 2007, to achieve their goal of setting up their own dance company in their home city, and Company Chameleon was born. Today, Company Chameleon tour internationally to wide acclaim and perform over fifty indoor and outdoor performances a year.
Learning and participation is an integral part of the Company’s approach. Everywhere the Company performs, they lead a dance class or workshop. As a result, Chameleon has introduced thousands of people, from countries all over the world, to a different side of dance and movement. From beginners’ creative sessions in schools through to advanced level company classes at universities, the Company offers a wide range of dance development opportunities all year round.
In May 2016, Company Chameleon launched Chameleon Youth, a new youth dance company. The huge amount of knowledge and experience Chameleon has gained, from touring dance theatre all over the world, forms the bedrock of the youth company and its hands-on approach to creative development. The aspiration is to inspire the next generation of dance artists.
Watch the Witness teaser.