Celine Havard has directed, acted and produced Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway and Regionally for over three decades. Havard was a founding member of Abingdon Theatre Company, Stagedotorg and The Alternative Theatre Company. She's worked with many NYC theater organizations including Pulse Ensemble Theatre Co., The Greenhouse Ensemble, Intar, the Women’s Project, the Drama League, New Directions, and The New Professional Theatre. Havard edits books, plays for stage and screenplays as a Script Doctor and ghost writer. For more go to CelineHavard.com
After putting out the call for the “Altered Minds” plays and 900 scripts came flooding in from all over the world on the subject of mental health, then holding auditions and over 1000 actors applied for the roles, because they were genuinely enthusiastic about the project --- it is all very exciting how much of an impact we can already see happening when people come together with raised voices on a significant social issue.
Amidst the whirlwind success that The Alternative Theater Company had with The #metoo Plays, last season: We held interviews, discussions, stimulating talkbacks and what kept coming to the surface was the haunting question “what’s next?” It was agreed that this was a subject matter that crossed all social stratas, really affected people and needed a forum, but there was also a consensus that this was just the beginning. One thing that all of the plays, and all characters had in common, whether they were victims or perpetrators, whether the subject were harassment, assault or abuse -- it all lead to mental health. As more celebrities stepped forward to voice their struggles with mental disorders and high profile suicides hit the news with incidents of successful well-loved icons such as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain taking their lives, it became clear that, not only was it time, but it was a necessity that “Altered Minds” come to be and crucial that we, as a society face this crisis!
Mental illness does not discriminate; it is complicated and difficult to diagnose and can often be life-threatening.Theater has always been a place to turn in times like these. The Altered Minds slogan is "It's not what you think." Not just because these plays are enlightening and -- yes even amusing, (there are some comedies) but because people often believe that individuals can be "fixed" just by thinking differently or changing behavior and, it's a lot more complicated than that, and with these plays we hope to challenge misconceptions, raise awareness and squash stigmas. As Daniel Capalbo Jr, one of our core directors, and a former therapist says “People have to get over the stigma and realize they need people to talk to.” As a society, we have to get over the stigma attached to mental disorders and seeing a psychiatrist or a therapist. “What if they can’t put in a 40 hour week?” An employer may wonder. “What if I can’t greet customers with a smile eight hours a day?” And hey, maybe they can not. The world still needs a LOT of education. (Please see our RESOURCE page -- both for info AND for anyone who needs HELP)
For 90 minutes in a dark theater these stories will illuminate, resonate and connect us in the kinds of experiences and emotions we are all going through right now or know too many people who are.