This was our company’s first commissioned piece, and a big one at that: working with the mental health charity Mind, we were asked to adapt a Verbatim theatre script written by Bille Jay Short into a 35-minute long film about suicide and suicide awareness, to be toured around schools in Coventry and Warwickshire. Using real accounts from suicide survivors and family members of those who committed suicide, the piece aims to educate about the struggles and stigma surrounding the topic and show the ways in which one can find help.
This was a subject particularly close to the hearts of both Billie and Jonny – both had lost family members to suicide in the recent past. Creating something that would respect as well as educate was incredibly important to them and to the entire crew. The commitment all four actors gave to portraying their characters truthfully and openly played a large role in striking that poignant, thought-provoking tone, helped along by a rigorous rehearsal process and a commitment to allowing the actors creative control over their parts.
The outpouring of responses from viewers, as well as from Mind themselves, goes to show the tragic prevalence of suicide in modern society, and if our film can make even the smallest difference in providing help or guidance to those contemplating suicide, then it was more than worth the commitment we put into creating it.
Writer Billie Jay Short’s Response
“I want to thank Frinin & Bok for taking this story on and for turning the words into an actual film. I know that this has been a personal journey for yourselves as well and I hope this film gives your company the exposure it deserves…Thank you so much for your support with this project. Hopefully we can help beat this stigma together and get people talking about mental health and suicide.”
“Personal, powerful and inspirational. Congratulations on having the guts, empathy and determination to see this project through.”
“Thank you for taking an issue so close to our hearts and putting a voice out there for the people who can't by making this film along with Mind. We all know someone who has been affected by mental health and hopefully this film will reach any man or woman and give them the confidence to talk about it.”
“This film is so important and powerful.”