African-American Playwright Highlights Mental Health Through Theatre

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“I am Hope” is autobiographical play about a woman’s journey to healing. It’s a 40 minute One Woman Show in which the actress plays 19 characters in a story about mental health and the issues surrounding treatment and healing. It debuted in Canada’ Toronto Fringe Festival this week.

Mia Rye Smith, from Queens, New York, is a playwright, actress and a graduate of the William Esper Studio. Mia explained the purpose of her show with this statement. “As an African American Woman it’s important for me to use my voice and story about my experiences with mental health. ‘I Am Hope’ is about finding hope and humor living with an anxiety disorder.”

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Mia shares how her work impacts her audience and the reception she receives affects her too. “After each show, I will always have a few people speak with me about their struggles with mental health,” she said. “Some people are emotional because they are experiencing similar symptoms or they know a loved one who is. This work allows me to connect with strangers on a personal level. The response has been an overwhelming feeling of joy because this work takes a great deal of courage; I had no idea that my story would impact the lives of other people. The show is filled with hope, humor and healing.””

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“I Am Hope’ is currently running in Toronto, Canada.

Via AfroToronto

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