Shell Shock, the play that challenges mental health stigma, made its preview at Printers Playhouse in Eastbourne last week.
Showcasing the fresh and exciting talent of Tom Page, formerly an Eastbourne College student, the Sussex-born production is now set to embark on its first tour as a result of securing LIBOR funding from the Chancellor last autumn.
All three nights were well attended by representatives from Combat Stress, the Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes, Sussex Police and local politicians along with serving members and veterans of the British Armed Forces.
The play was adapted for the stage by Tim Marriott, from the original novel Shell Shock: The Diary of Tommy Atkins, by Iraq veteran Neil Blower. It portrays one soldier’s moving and poignant struggle with life back on Civvy Street, following tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
His inability to cope with everyday situations: post office queues, a trip to Ikea and his fraying relationships lead to anger and alienation. Unaware he is suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Tommy Atkins becomes depressed and suicidal.
The story was described by General Sir Mike Jackson as “a vivid and compassionate portrayal of an ex-soldier having to cope with post-traumatic stress syndrome, and shows just how important the work is, of charities such as Combat Stress”.
Shell Shock is presented by Smokescreen Productions and supported by the Sussex Armed Forces Network (NHS), Anglia Ruskin University, Help For Heroes, Combat Stress and PTSD Resolution.
The tour begins in May at the Brighton Fringe preceding Mental Health Week 2017, followed by a number of performances throughout the summer.
For more information and forthcoming tour dates and venues Shell Shock project visit www.shellshock.org.uk
Among those at the previews were Eastbourne based actor Julian Rivett, Stephen Lloyd, Printer’s director John Berry, Col. Andrew Wood, the show’s directors Philip Mandelli Poole and Tim Marriott, Kate McCoy, Harry Farmer and Surgeon Captain John Sharpley.