21 Dec 2016

#Time4change

Always being advocates for change in our evolving industry, Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company has joined forces with the #Time4Change movement in advocating awareness of mental health difficulties in our training and development of actors.

In the 3 weeks leading up to the creation of the article, Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company has galvanised and re-structured our policies on Company Member welfare and created a clearly defined policy which supports the awareness of mental health difficulties in our training actors. The policy stands alongside the Company’s already robust stance on inclusion and anti-discrimination. The policy sets out not only Fourth Monkey’s current stance on mental health issues but also looks to what is possible to action going forwards. Conversations with other charity based organisations have already seen a growing awareness and acceptance of the differences within our artistic community; with a more open and accepting approach to discussions around this topic.

Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company has also created a ‘training and information’ evening which will be rolled out to all staff and students in the New Year to combine with the objectives set out in the #Time4Change charter. The evening will directly address how the Company will seek to help individuals, give solid and detailed information, inform actors and staff where they can find further help, bring in discussion and generally look to break stereotypes through a shared learning experience.

This presentation evening will directly link to work which has already started in the working spaces, where due to the ensemble element and family feel of the Company, actors have already been disclosing their experiences, sharing and supporting each other in the first few weeks of the training year.

We have also created clarity where pastoral assistance can be found during the working day. By having escalation points throughout the Company from Course and Social Reps, Practitioner Mentors, Company Leaders and the newly appointed Welfare and Liaison Officer; Company Members have a variety of avenues for discussion and help in a supported and nurturing environment.

As a company we have also made contact with outside organisations so that we can direct students and staff to the relevant extra support that is on offer in the wider context of positive mental health.

We have already seen that the steps we are taking in regards to this area of welfare are proving to be positive and we hope to continue the positive work that we are doing throughout the rest of the academic year and beyond.