New play addresses mental health issues

Geordie Theatre presents Virginia Wolf, a story that highlights the importance of being patient, supportive and loving with those who are struggling

New play addresses mental health

Photo credit: Geordie Theatre

Fresh off its landmark 40th season, Geordie Theatre is  presenting a new show that highlights the timely, and often misunderstood, issue of youth mental health struggles.

Virginia Wolf, a play based on the Governor-General award-winning children’s story by Kyo Maclear will have its premiere online in May. Adapted by award-winning playwright Cole Lewis and directed by Geordie artistic and executive director Mike Payette, the play tells the story of Virginia and her sister Vanessa. When Virginia develops a “wolfish” mood that includes howling, growling and general strangeness, Vanessa tries everything she can to cheer her up — to no avail.

Virginia then tells Vanessa about a perfect place that she has imagined, called Bloomsberry. This inspires Vanessa to paint Virginia’s bedroom walls, transforming them into a beautiful garden complete with a ladder and swing, representing how moods can go down and then back up again. Before long, Virginia also begins painting and undergoes a surprising transformation of her own.

Inspired by the real-life relationship between author Virginia Woolf and her sister, this heartwarming play is a poetic telling of what it can be like to deal with unwanted emotions and reminds us of the importance of patience, support, and love.

Watch it online with the whole family

Due to pandemic restrictions, the show will be available exclusively online on the following dates:

Friday, May 7 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 8 – 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 9 – 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 15 – 1 p.m. with ASL Interpretation
Friday, May 16 – 4 p.m.

Tickets are $15 per household. The play is adapted for children ages 6 and up. For more information, click here. 

Mental health workshop offered soon 

Geordie will also be organizing a workshop series later this spring, which uses the play as a springboard for a wider discussion about mental health in the Black community. (In this production, the character of Vanessa is played by a Black performer, which supports the larger social conversation on the intersections of Blackness and mental health.)

In conjunction with this performance, Geordie and DESTA Black Youth Network will offer 10 Black youth aged 18 to 25 the opportunity to engage in a four-part, socio-theatrical workshop that aims to use the arts as a platform to inspire social dialogue, unpack trauma, and encourage dialogue. The sessions will be guided by psychotherapist and theatre therapist Lisa Ndejuru, and include both practical activities and discussions.