Mental health in performing arts

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theMTAonline
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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby theMTAonline » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:38 am

I'm sorry but this is appalling. You don't have to 'toughen people up' like this. Times have moved on. Paulears I'm not sure what your background is, but the statement being questioned here should never have been made in front of people during an audition for a university entry. Absolutely discussions have to be had around weight and toning, but there's a time and a place and a way to have them. You need to establish in the first instance where the individual is with it all - you don't just launch in with your own opinion. You read the person. Your viewpoint is really dated.
People talking about a bullying approach from drama colleges should be aware that you do have a say in all of this. You are the customer after all. You're paying a small fortune to get your children trained and you don't have to put up with some throwback from the 1970's. Most of what you're describing is just ill informed methods which is known to cause Mental Health issues.
There is most definitely a need to have certain conversations - but research and new thinking informs us that there are better ways to have the conversation.
Even in the 'real world' things have been changing. Of course there are still some power crazed people that will try these games on young performers, but they really are getting less and less . . . but it is the colleges job to prepare their students for these people not join in with them. Paulears, there is a way to be honest that doesn't involve elevating the 'teacher' by belittling the student. There is a trust that needs to be built up.
I mean we all get it wrong sometimes, but at least we should all be striving to be more mindful eh?

jaybeeyellow
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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby jaybeeyellow » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:39 am

I absolutely agree with the above.
i would like to point out however, that in reality it is very difficult to solve the problems of bullying etc in Drama schools.

theMTAonline
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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby theMTAonline » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:05 am

jaybeeyellow wrote:I absolutely agree with the above.
i would like to point out however, that in reality it is very difficult to solve the problems of bullying etc in Drama schools.

Things might be difficult but that shouldn’t stop all of us trying. When I first started campaigning about getting better awareness around Mental Health back in 2010 we faced a lot of abuse and ridicule from the training sector and indeed some parts of the industry. Fast forward 8 years and I’m delighted to say that more and more colleges are signing up to the Charter as society actually demands that we acknowledge the difficulties.
The Me too campaign is indeed such a turning point in society - especially in our industry. This bullying really is a dated throwback to the 1970’s. The industry is changing and these dinosaurs are dying out. Therefore Drama colleges have an obligation to replicate the industry that they’re preparing your children for. If a tutor is simply on a power trip with your child, and you have witnesses, then you should have grounds to pursue a disciplinary action. Maybe informal at first (as I understand that nobody wants to be ‘that’ parent) but if somebody is hurting your child (& mental abuse IS hurting them - then make it formal. Be ‘that’ parent. If the school doesn’t listen, take your money elsewhere. To be clear - a school cannot blacklist your child. Indeed. Nobody can ‘blacklist’ your child. I guess they can make themselves unemployable further down the line by being unprofessional etc - but at this stage of their lives, don’t believe the scare stories. I hope that helps to dispel some of the myths that seem to exist in here.

paulears
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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby paulears » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:00 pm

I wrote a long and detailed response, but I've deleted it as most people here simply won't understand. I've been a member of the forum for quite a long time, and really thought that as an employer of young people, and somebody who used to help train them - it was handy for everyone to have one male industry viewpoint to balance the aims and aspirations of your kids - especially when they're a bit pink and fluffy, but sadly I've had enough now.

I wish you all the very best, and may all your kids do really well - which is, what I know you want. It's just that sometimes you are all so very wrong in your understanding of how it really works, and I come across as a dinosaur - which perhaps I am - but I'm a dinosaur that runs very successful productions and works with exactly the kinds of people you churn out. Some are very badly suited to this industry - and need to have been counselled out, but school, college and uni didn't do it - and now they're 27 and about to hit the buffers - and that is very sad, when they could have been much happier in a different business.

Best wishes
Paul

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riverdancefan
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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby riverdancefan » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:46 pm

paulears wrote:I wrote a long and detailed response, but I've deleted it as most people here simply won't understand. I've been a member of the forum for quite a long time, and really thought that as an employer of young people, and somebody who used to help train them - it was handy for everyone to have one male industry viewpoint to balance the aims and aspirations of your kids - especially when they're a bit pink and fluffy, but sadly I've had enough now.

I wish you all the very best, and may all your kids do really well - which is, what I know you want. It's just that sometimes you are all so very wrong in your understanding of how it really works, and I come across as a dinosaur - which perhaps I am - but I'm a dinosaur that runs very successful productions and works with exactly the kinds of people you churn out. Some are very badly suited to this industry - and need to have been counselled out, but school, college and uni didn't do it - and now they're 27 and about to hit the buffers - and that is very sad, when they could have been much happier in a different business.

Best wishes
Paul



I’ve always valued your posts Paul and I’ve learned a lot over the years. You know, no matter how wrong it might be - sometimes that’s the way it is and although I do think things need to improve, this is the reality of the business.
There are too many kids who have absolutely no idea how it works, parents are either totally unrealistic in their expectations or just have no knowledge of the business.
You have to be tough, or if you don’t like the world “tough”you have to have a coping mechanism,
you have to be talented and you have to be determined. How many of us have constant rejection ?
We in the ordinary world might have a few interviews over the years and not get the job and it stinks!
These kids get that multiplied by 10 to the power of Greystoke over and over, if they don’t develop a thick skin, they ain’t gonna last!
I think it’s fabulous and important that colleges are at last recognising mental health is just as important as sprains and strains.
But as much as we may not like or agree with it, we have to give them strategies to cope with rejection and criticism and to help them to treat it like Jinkx Monsoon - water off a ducks back!
I await the many posts I’m sure there will be saying “ they shouldn’t have to accept it “ and “it’s bullying” and “we should fight for change” and “times have changed “ and yes I agree, but it’s also reality that still exists and we have to work with that too.
You might not like what Paulears says but he’s honest and says it like it is, with years of experience in the bizz, I hope he continues here with us.
Last edited by riverdancefan on Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Tall and proud my mother taught me, this is how we dance" - RIVERDANCE

Rose20
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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby Rose20 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:56 pm

Paulears, I have valued your responses in the past and think it is healthy to get different points of view. I will be very sorry to see you leave.
It is a very emotive subject and hopefully attitudes will change but whether it’s spoken about or not performers will be judged on how they look. I don’t think making anyone feel uncomfortable about staying in this forum is the way forward with this issue and I’m sure that wasn’t the intention behind any of the posts x

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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby beanie-bean » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:55 pm

Paulears, I have always read your posts with interest over the years and I really do find your insight and knowledge valuable. I hope you decide to stay with us. Xxx

theMTAonline
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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby theMTAonline » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:20 pm

paulears wrote:I wrote a long and detailed response, but I've deleted it as most people here simply won't understand. I've been a member of the forum for quite a long time, and really thought that as an employer of young people, and somebody who used to help train them - it was handy for everyone to have one male industry viewpoint to balance the aims and aspirations of your kids - especially when they're a bit pink and fluffy, but sadly I've had enough now.

I wish you all the very best, and may all your kids do really well - which is, what I know you want. It's just that sometimes you are all so very wrong in your understanding of how it really works, and I come across as a dinosaur - which perhaps I am - but I'm a dinosaur that runs very successful productions and works with exactly the kinds of people you churn out. Some are very badly suited to this industry - and need to have been counselled out, but school, college and uni didn't do it - and now they're 27 and about to hit the buffers - and that is very sad, when they could have been much happier in a different business.

Best wishes
Paul


I think that this is really sad when you clearly add a lot to this forum. Being challenged over opinions only refines our thinking surely? I think that you're right that some people are badly suited to the industry, but the responsibility there lies with the colleges oversubscribing and not actually caring who they take. In my opinion that's still different to a public remark about weight at this particular point in their careers without knowing any back story to that person's history.
For those of us in the industry, contributions to forums like this are surely vital, and all of us will have different experiences to call on. All will be valid. Maybe instead of 'toughen up' it would be healthier to think of it of it being robust. If the performer is happy and confident in themselves they'll be able to cope with the demands of the industry, and the 'personalities' of the people that they will have to deal with. Things really are changing though. . . thankfully

lawn
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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby lawn » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:43 pm

I'm another one who'll be sad to see you leave paulears. I have always valued what you've said (even if I haven't liked it or agreed with it). This whole thread, about a young lady's death and issues in mental health has made me very sad. It really shouldn't have been a thread where people 'fell out' with each other, even if they had different viewpoints.

I came on here, for the very reason paulears mentions. I have a child who wants to do performing arts and I am/was clueless! I've had to read (a lot) and ask (sometimes) to even begin to have an idea of how this industry works in order to help DD persue her goal.All of you have been very helpful with your knowledge and experience and long may this continue.

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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby scottishdancer00 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:14 am

This makes me worry for my daughters mental health at college - at mainly because I know paulears is ultimately correct in what he says.
DD is severely bulimic to the point we are putting of college for a year, focusing on recovery and thinking about applying next year. She had planned to move out to college and never eat again I found out ( I saw it written down she wouldn’t talk to me about it ) . My daughters bulimia has caused her to gain weight as purging doesn’t remove all calories and her bmi is now about 25/26 on the doctors scales. I’m reality I know this is too heavy for the career she dreams of but I also know without hesitation if we have her the chance to lose any weight that would be it she would be back to her old ways of starvation which we have thankfully left behind for the moment.
So do we just give up because of her illness ? I’m
not sure - it’s seems to be the only thing that truly makes her happy and yet also the cause of so much of her pain . Very hard to make the right decision about this - all I know is she won’t be moving away from me this year

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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby esmum » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:55 am

RoseTowers4 wrote:Paulears - No. With respect I absolutely disagree.


So much talent is so very sensitive, (and this does not make them weak!) and their confidence may be easily destroyed by 'stronger personalities' who may be 'more robust' but often less talented - being insensitive and accepting of disrespectful comments is not a quality.

Ensuring that this industry in particular, supports and encourages Mental Health is so very important in a modern world.

Gone are the days, thankfully, where it is acceptable to humiliate at an audition, or at an interview in any workplace.

Paulears - such total respect to you, dont go Mr!

You do not come across as a dinosaur to me. Sincerely hope you stay. Rejection and not fitting into parts in this industry is obviously par for the course. The young people know it is hard and hearing someone shout, 'come on, get that leg higher' or ' what the hell was that note, come on, nail that top C' is very different from 'you've eaten too much Christmas Dinner - or bluntly, your too fat' in front of peers.

Keeping the challenge but making sure it is always respectful is key - there will always be room for improvement no doubt whatever.

Also, with respect, no doubt, there was so much more to this babe's problems that are totally unrelated to the comments we are making in this thread.

Together Stronger x

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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby Robin64 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:35 am

scottishdancer00 wrote:This makes me worry for my daughters mental health at college - at mainly because I know paulears is ultimately correct in what he says.
DD is severely bulimic to the point we are putting of college for a year, focusing on recovery and thinking about applying next year. She had planned to move out to college and never eat again I found out ( I saw it written down she wouldn’t talk to me about it ) . My daughters bulimia has caused her to gain weight as purging doesn’t remove all calories and her bmi is now about 25/26 on the doctors scales. I’m reality I know this is too heavy for the career she dreams of but I also know without hesitation if we have her the chance to lose any weight that would be it she would be back to her old ways of starvation which we have thankfully left behind for the moment.
So do we just give up because of her illness ? I’m
not sure - it’s seems to be the only thing that truly makes her happy and yet also the cause of so much of her pain . Very hard to make the right decision about this - all I know is she won’t be moving away from me this year


Thanks for sharing, it's not easy. I think you are right to focus on health and wellness before application to move away. How about booking some short courses so she could go away for limited time? Easter and summer schools or YMT / NYMT? DD has made really good friends who are supportive by doing these sort of things and the staff have been great too. Also things like pilates or yoga would be about strength and toning and good for mind and body. And lots of fun with singing / choir / fun drama group / dance classes / helping to teach little ones etc could re-focus on the enjoyment and away from the pressure of auditions for a while. Hope you have been getting good support from your GP too. It is really tough on you too as a parent. Look after yourself too xx

RoseTowers4
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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby RoseTowers4 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:16 pm

What an emotive issue this is and it seems that many people have differing viewpoints. We obviously all want the best for our kids and discussion on this forum is only going to lead to a more positive future for them. In my humble opinion, the only problems come when we assume we are 'right' and don't want to listen to other opinions. I shall continue to read all the views with interest and hopefully learn lots.

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Re: Mental health in performing arts

Postby performmum » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:27 pm

My observation

College can be tough, but not as tough as the real world. The world of audition is hard and relentless. The world of work ( if they are lucky enough to get some ) is even harder.
Do the ground work with your DD/S first, develop resilience, coping strategies and the understanding of the value of their own self worth.
They do need to be tough cookies for this industry as with many other professions, teaching them young how to self care is so important xx


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