Project 55

Oxfordshire Mind’s Project 55 is a video campaign to support mental health awareness in Oxfordshire. It is made up of six monologues that will be performed directly to camera in a simple studio set up.

Producer/Director Andi Reiss is looking for six professional performers to each play a character, whose real-life story has been abridged and scripted for the screen. You will be required to attend one Zoom rehearsal with Andi and the shoot which is being scheduled for one day (tbd) between Monday 1st and Friday 5th August at Film Oxford’s studio.

Whilst Andi will not be in Oxford that week, he will be directing the shoot remotely and there will be a trusted and professional associate producer and a two-person camera crew on set.

Payment is an inclusive fee £150 with reasonable expenses covered.

The characters we are looking to cast are as follows:-

  • George:- male, white, mid 40s
  • Sarah:- female, white, mid-40s
  • CK:- female, white, early 20s
  • Kai:- male, Black British, mid 20s
  • Emma:- female, Afro-Caribbean, early 30s

If you are interested in being considered, please send your showreel and CV to Andi Reiss:-

The monologues can be read below:-

George’s story

Actor required – male, white, mid 40s

It was during my last episode. I am diagnosed with bi–polar disorder and I had a manic episode. It was scary. I was sectioned. And the worst of it was I lost connection with family. I had been living with my sister before. 

Before that work and living in general was difficult, but in hospital I became destitute and desperate.

It was at that point my social worker put me in touch with Oxfordshire Mind. 

Shortly after my initial meeting, where I talked a bit about myself and my mental history I was given a room in an Oxfordshire Mind shared house where I stayed for two years. The others in the house needed similar support to me, and once we’d become friends we’d be supporting each other with everything.

Eventually, and of course it didn’t happen overnight, I began seeing real progress in my personal recovery journey, so much so that I was moved into the flat of my own before long. I start exercising, eating properly and generally building my self-esteem, which has helped me to sleep better and stabilise. 

But I could not have done this without the help of Oxfordshire Mind.

My key worker is Tony and he has been so helpful, honestly the whole team has been so understanding and compassionate. And they really know what they’re doing. 

And since 2019 I have been more productive and pursuing my passions, one of which is music, it’s a huge part of my life and I’m gigging and getting noticed by the local press and even BBC Oxford news. 

My story is not remarkable by any means, but what Oxfordshire Mind means to me is remarkable, and I will forever be grateful to an organisation that has helped me to find the good in myself. 

The future is now all for me to grab, and you never know, I might be playing Glastonbury one day.

Sarah’s story

Actor required:- female, white, mid-40s

I had always been susceptible to poor mental health and addiction but it all imploded after my father and brother died within a year of each other.  

It was a traumatic time for our family and it still affects us, even after sixteen years.

My brother’s suicide was a total shock. He’d spent the last weekend of his life with me, helping me put the finishing touches to my new classroom.

Initially, and I don’t know how, but I stayed strong after their deaths. Yet after the heartbreak of a relationship ending I became broken.  Extreme depression, anxiety and grief were a heady mix and I eventually had a full on breakdown. I was so lost, confused, bewildered and…well, overwhelmed.

It was at that point I came across Oxfordshire Mind through a friend and I can’t tell you how much they helped me with their excellent bereavement counselling. 

You know, the simple things such as getting out of bed, showering and cleaning your teeth seem impossible when you’re in the situation I had found myself in, but with Oxfordshire Mind’s therapy sessions I eventually managed, and It sounds silly, but it felt such a huge achievement just being able to get dressed. 

If you’re suffering with anxiety then breathing exercises work great too and learning to be in touch with your five senses can really help. All of this I’ve learned from the team at Oxfordshire Mind. 

Gratitude journaling or keeping a gratitude jar can also help. 

Just little things are so important. Those at Oxfordshire Mind taught me this.

Sixteen years on and I’m slowly building a new life.  I have found reading books or listening to podcasts that focus on mental health, addiction and grief very helpful, and it’s a comfort knowing that other people have gone through similar stuff. When you’re in deep you it’s easy to think you’re the only one. 

I’ve also recently taken on three roles with Oxfordshire Mind, as an Expert by Experience, an Involvement Champion and a Lived Experience Interviewer. The aim of all of these is that my voice and my various actions will raise awareness and help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.  

I’ve also started volunteering in a charity shop.

Even thought about dating again. 

What I’m trying to say is that there is hope after a mental health crisis. But for me, I’d not have arrived at this point without Oxfordshire Mind. 

Hope is a very powerful word and I choose hope for today and tomorrow for me and for you too.

CK’s story

Actor required :- female, white, early 20s

Living with others can be complicated enough but when you struggle with your mental health, and constantly thinking you’re other half is going to leave you it’s a recipe for disaster. 

I’ve been a substance abuser for some time, and have suffered from what’s known as Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) for years. It’s a condition marked by frequent impulsive anger outbursts or aggression and it finally brought my relationship to a bitter end. 

Sometimes my brain would go blank and feeling so vulnerable I’d express myself, for no real reason through such outward aggression towards him, it frightened us both. 

He left without me knowing. 

The problem was, I just didn’t know why I reacted to things like this and when I ended up living on my own I turned my anger inwards and began to self-harm. 

I was at an all time low; alone and angry and anxious and relying on drugs just to get through each day.

I don’t know why I did it, but one day I called the Oxfordshire Mind 24 hour helpline and it was like the person knew exactly what I was talking about. It was like speaking to a friend you’ve never met. 

I was invited into Oxfordshire Mind’s Talking Space therapy sessions. It’s beneficial for addictions, anxiety, anger management and depression and I knew I needed help with all of this, and so did the support team. 

But most importantly, they helped me realise that the root cause of my issues, and perhaps the reason for my self-abuse, lay in mis-trust. It’s complicated, but eventually it all began to make sense, and in turn I’ve been able to understand the difference between a good relationship and a bad relationship, and I don’t have to trust everyone but it is good to have trust in some people and not think that they will leave. 

It sounds silly, doesn’t it and perhaps it is, but had it not been for Oxfordshire Mind’s help, I’d never have discovered that I don’t need to rely on drugs to help me cope.  

And without the drugs, everything else seems easier to manage. 

I’m now living in a shared house, arranged by Oxfordshire Mind and I’ve made some really good friends. I trust them, and they me. Living with others can be complicated enough, it is hard and I get angry sometimes but I also now have good friends who I can talk to and we help each other out. 

I don’t think I’m going to feel alone again, and that’s the best feeling in the world. 

Kai’s story

Actor required:- male, Black British, mid 20s

I moved into Oxfordshire Mind Housing from Homeless Oxfordshire in September 2018. Having suffered with mental health issues for a long-time I was in a bad way and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol wasn’t helping my low self-esteem. 

I’d also spent some time in jail, and you know, leaving prison isn’t as simple as walking out the door and returning to the life you had before. 

It was tough. To be fair, I wasn’t sure if life was even worth living.

But you’ve no idea how much the Mind staff have helped. They manage to get some of the most vulnerable or traumatised members of society into the right accommodation so as to create the right environment. 

And for me this was key to my recovery. 

I just wasn’t coping on my own. 

And the most important thing they taught me was don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Eventually, having built up confidence I was able to leave the house and engage with the community, and long story short in March last year I was able to move into more independent housing with a local association and there’s every opportunity now for me to have visits from my son. 

When I was inside he didn’t want to know and I didn’t know how to reach out to him. 

I’ve also found part time employment and there’s nothing like having something to do to help you feel better about yourself. 

Overall, and I’m not out of the woods yet, I know my anxieties and panic attacks have decreased thanks to the last few years and I truly appreciate everyone who’ve helped me with dealing with situations where I might have flipped out in the past. 

And the thing is, when I look back, what happened to me could happen to anyone. 

Believe me, mental illness does not discriminate.

(It’s a state of mind.) 

Just don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Emma’s story

Actor required : – female, Afro Caribbean, early 30s

Having been a substance abuser as a teenager, it’s not surprising I ended up developing PTSD, depression, violent behaviour and thoughts of suicide. Did you know that people seeking treatment for PTSD are 14 times more likely to also be diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder?

I was a mess and I think I don’t think I’d have made if it wasn’t for Oxfordshire Mind.  

Poor mental health can make it harder to cope with housing problems, and being homeless, which I thought I might become, can just make your mental health worse, obviously.

I didn’t want to be left alone on the streets, so I got it together and got in touch with Oxfordshire Mind, as I’d heard that I might be put in a house with other women so I wouldn’t be isolated. 

But Oxfordshire Mind did much more that.

I went in for an interview and we connected immediately. I was offered a room in a shared house in Oxford and was group rehab for my addictions, at which I learnt to open up and talk about my life. 

And for the first time and people listened. 

And my one to one key worker was the perfect support, for every aspect of my life.

Eventually, Oxfordshire Mind moved me into a Mind flat so I could be more independent and enjoy my own space. I started cooking for myself and keeping everything clean and tidy.

It was hard at first but I really enjoy it now. I can take care of myself. I do lots of different groups and some volunteering. I meet with my key worker three times a week, and we are engaging with the council and looking to get a permanent flat for me, which is really exciting.

Everything I was promised happened. 

And as I said, I don’t think I’d have made if it weren’t for Oxfordshire Mind. 

We look forward to hearing from you.