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Just Acts explores mental illness

By Aurora Anderson, February 14 2017 —

Urban Stories Theatre’s Just Acts Play Festival 2017: Examining Mental Illness(es) will present four new plays by local writers from Feb. 14–19 at the Knox United Church Lower Theatre.

Urban Stories Theatre focuses on supporting local playwrights whose work addresses social justice issues. This year’s festival will feature work from local writers, directors and actors drawing attention to mental health awareness and treatment.

Jessica Bruhn, director of La Mère/La Mer — one of the four plays — wants to draw attention to the struggle many people suffering from mental illness face.

“I need you to believe that — no matter what you see or hear — healing is possible for anyone if they have access to it and if they want it,” Bruhn says.

Bruhn wants to dispel the stigma attached to these illnesses. La Mère/La Mer specifically focuses on personality disorder and post-partum depression.

Bruhn says Calgary is the perfect place to host a festival of this genre.

“[Calgary is a] mosaic of people from different nations, cultures, creeds, and beliefs, [which] makes the play’s material very applicable to the social schema in which we interact on a day-to-day basis,” she says.

Bruhn hopes that students in particular are able to see the show.

“Students are in a unique position to apply the ideas and knowledge they are learning in new ways, generating new solutions,” she says.

The Just Acts Play Festival 2017: Examining Mental Illness(es) runs until Feb. 19 at the Knox United Church. Tickets are available online and range from

For more information, visit urbanstoriestheatre.com

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