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New performance helps children weather The Storm

New performance helps children weather The Storm

The Storm is a new devised theatre performance, which aims to show kids that ‘facing the storm’ of anxiety is not always as scary as it may seem.

Produced by the TOI TOI Learning and Participation Programme, through the Manoel Theatre, the production is devised and performed by TOI TOI Collective and was directed by Chiara Hyzler. The Storm also stars actors Michaela Fenech, Michela Farrugia, Tina Rizzo and Becky Camilleri. “The inspiration behind The Storm came from the team,” said Chiara Hyzler. “We quickly landed upon the theme of anxiety, as it resonated with all of us in one way or another. As a teacher, I’m drawn to it, as I’ve noticed an increase in anxiety traits in children’s behaviour.”

The director talked about how the team talked about their individual stories with regards to anxiety. They also took inspiration from a book, “where everything is flipped upside down and little things are exaggerated.”

By means of the entire process, the concept of a ladder was created, with the underworld being the departing point, and objects played with to shape the characters in the production. The Storm follows the journey of a child through anxiety, exploring the pressures and expectations that kids feel as they strive to express themselves. With the input of Francesca Diacono, an inclusivity coordinator who works with children with anxiety, the team devised the main character Georgie, and her journey through the underworld, as well as the various whimsical yet relatable characters she meets along the way.

Kate Fenech Field, TOI TOI learning and participation programme manager said: “People can feel isolated or judged if they think speaking about problems is wrong. The pandemic, specifically lockdowns, magnified feelings of isolation or loneliness, which can sometimes lead to anxiety, depressing or extreme stress. The TOI TOI Collective have approached the subject of anxiety with sensitivity and, through the magic of theatre, creatively demonstrate how to manage stress when the storm clouds loom.”

Chiara Hyzler hopes that the PG-rated show will help audience members of any age face their own battle with anxiety because in truth, “everybody has a storm; everybody suffers from anxiety, although you might not even know it. It’s impossible not to be suffering from anything since we go through life with so many pressures. The sooner we recognise it, then the sooner we can face it. And when we face it, it doesn’t go away forever, but we learn how to cope with it,” she said.

“The The Storm, we hope we can help people to face their own personal storm, weather it, learn what it looks like and find a way to move through it, whether that’s through writing poetry, dancing, becoming more organised – whatever works for you. It’s about the anticipation of anxiety and overcoming it on a personal level.” She added.

Check out the one-off theatre-on-film performance of The Storm at the Eden Cinemas on Monday 6 December at 11am. For more info and tickets, click here.

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