New theatre company aims to support men in mental health battles

MensCraft are working to create theatre that challenges masculinity

Menscraft are working to create theatre that challenges masculinity and sets to open up conversations about the pressures facing men. - Credit: MensCraft

A Norfolk-wide organisation which supports men struggling with mental health issues are being offered a new forum to explore and share their feelings - in a drama class. 

Menscraft has operated across the county offering socials, activities and group as well as one-on-one support. 

But now a new activity - a mini theatre company - is on offer in Norwich.

A workshop which began as part of the Theatre Royal's mental health campaign in 2018 has now turned into the fully-fledged company four years later.

The addition of drama classes to the organisation aims to open up a conversations about positive masculinity, opening up a host of social and mental wellbeing tools.

Norwich performers Andy Wood and Thom Bailey have launched the programme, having met on a training course working with veterans suffering with PTSD.

Andy, 64, said: “Moving forward, we hope to look at the root causes of homelessness, poor fathering, suicide, sexuality, culture issues, views on masculinity.” 

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Thom Bailey, 37 has been directing all over the county for years and he is really excited about Menscraft.  

Thom Bailey, 37, has ten years of experience in directing and enjoys being able to offer a space of support for other men. 

Thom Bailey, 37, has ten years of experience in directing and enjoys being able to offer a space of support for other men. - Credit: Josh Simpson

He said: “I definitely feel that there is a sense of brotherhood which has developed, possibly due to it being an all-male group.  

“That’s not to say there cannot be closeness and empathy in mixed-gender groups.” 

Now the pair are looking for new members to join them for their taster session on February 13. 

The company aims to support individual members with their own personal struggles, giving them social interaction and building confidence.  

Thom added: “What is particularly empowering is that we have men of differing backgrounds, ages, and sexuality. 

“This allows the discussion on masculinity and theatre to be varying or all-encompassing and to witness activities where men can be open and vulnerable. 

Menscraft believes positive portrayals and examples of positive masculinities make for better societies and communities.  

Thom said: “As a director I believe everything should be up for discussion and debate, and this is the key to our theatre work. 

“Though the work is not clinical therapy, the process and outcomes from engaging in the group can be therapeutic.” 

If you are interested in taking part in the theatre making group at Menscraft please email: info@thombaileytheatre.co.uk