One in ten young people in Scotland have a mental health problem. Only two thirds of them are getting the help they need via the NHS within the promised waiting time. The suicide rate among people under 25 is at its highest level since 2007. And irrespective of prevalence, the stigma attached to mental ill-health is alive and thriving.

New play crackers by Claire Wood questions whether mental ill-health is one of our society’s sole remaining taboos. Will is a GP, working tirelessly in one of Scotland’s deep end practices. When a patient informs him that her son took his own life following an appointment with Will, his world starts to crumble. Meantime, his wife Mhairi is campaigning for better treatment from the NHS of mental ill-health in young people. And their teenage daughter Lyra has a secret of her own.

crackers will premiere during the Edinburgh Fringe, produced by Wood’s theatre company, Production Lines. The show will run from 17 to 29 August at venue 40, the Quaker Meeting House on Victoria Terrace. A scene from the play has already been shared at Page 2 Stage 4 at Assembly Roxy in November 2019 but Wood is looking forward to seeing the whole play aired this Fringe.

The script features a cast of 12, including several young people, and Wood is hoping for an excellent turnout at auditions next month to help her bring the show to life.

As an additional incentive, actors will audition on the Water of Leith. Auditions will be held on the Mary of Guise barge, courtesy of local advertising agency, Leith. They’ve been kind enough to donate their premises free of charge to get the Fringe show off to a flying start.

Writer / director Claire Wood says, “I was in my first Fringe show in the year 2000. I’ve since directed twelve Fringe shows, two of which I’ve also written. But 2020 will be the first time I’m bringing my own production company to the Edinburgh Fringe with my own script.”

“It fascinates me that today’s society is so inclusive in so many ways – but so many people are still reluctant to disclose a mental health problem for fear of judgement. It’s crackers! Mental ill-health can be isolating enough without fearing the consequences of talking about it.

“I want our audiences to reflect on why we’re so poor at understanding and supporting something that affects 1 in 3 people 6 in the hope that we can do a better job of being there for friends and family when they need us.”

Auditions for crackers are being held on Wed 25 Mar @ 7.30pm and Sun 29 Mar @ 2.30pm on the Mary of Guise barge, Water of Leith, off The Shore, Leith, Edinburgh

Cast List
Will, a GP – 40s / 50s
Mhairi, his wife, a teacher – 40s / 50s
Lyra, their daughter – 17/18
Cherry, her girlfriend – 17/18
Young Lyra – 11/12
Imogen, Will’s friend – 40s / 50s
Faith, Ben’s mum – 30s / 40s / 50s
Duncan, a teacher at Mhairi’s school – 20s / 30s / 40s
Kathleen, a support worker – 50s / 60s
Dorothy, a dinner lady – 50s / 60s
Josh, a teacher – 30s / 40s / 50s
Ernie, a teacher – 50s / 60s

Performances are from Mon 17 – Sat 29 Aug @ 6.30pm, venue 40, Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh

For further information or to express your interest in auditions, please contact Claire Wood on: