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Theatre company makes ‘monster’ contribution to research

NCMH sponsored theatre company Monstrous Productions has already raised thousands of pounds for Alzheimer’s disease research with its stage adaptations of Terry Pratchett novels. Now they’ve kicked off 2015 by making yet another contribution to mental health research – becoming NCMH volunteers.

The Cardiff based group’s last production in November 2014, Wyrd Sisters, raised a total of £2000 for the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK in 2014. Now, 20 members of the company have volunteered to take part in NCMH research.

Monstrous Productions’ Director and Co-owner Amy Davies invited the NCMH team along to a rehearsal earlier this month to conduct interviews and take blood samples. Amy is a former member of the NCMH team herself, and often provides guest blogs for the centre’s website.

“Having previously worked on the NCMH project I understand the importance but also the difficulties in recruiting people to help with research” says Amy. “There have been a few changes since I left, and people can now take part as PlusOnes, which made it the perfect time for me to take part myself.”

“We’ve always encouraged our followers and our audience to take part, so I thought ‘why not take part ourselves?’ I know my members, and I know the best way to get them to take part in things is to make it as easy as possible for them to do so, which is why I brought the researchers to them! We loved having the team along to our rehearsal, and around half the company took part.”

Jordan, who took part with her mum and is herself a genetics student, said: “I took part to show my support for this research on mental health and look forward to seeing where the research will go in the future. The experience was very relaxed, easy and painless. If you are considering getting involved, just go for it. The lovely researchers were happy to answer any questions – and it’s all for a good cause.”

John, who was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 10 years ago, also volunteered. “I wanted to help with research into the condition, and other mental health problems, as they have an impact on so many people” said John. “The interview was quick and simple and you can say as much or as little as you like.  The staff were very friendly and helpful too.”

NCMH Director Professor Ian Jones said: “Amy’s company has made a fantastic contribution to our work, both by promoting research through their productions, and now by taking part themselves. We’re grateful to have their support and hope they enjoy every success in the future.”

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National Centre for Mental Health, Cardiff University, Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ

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