A SHORT film created by a Newport-based theatre group dramatising the experiences of people with mental health will be screened at an arts festival this week.

In The System is a piece by Reality Theatre, an organisation using performance to tackle important social issues, and will be screened at the green Ribbon Arts Festival.

The story, created in collaboration with Dr Rhiannon Lane of Cardiff University in a project funded by the Wellcome Trust, was originally performed as a play at Cardiff’s Pierhead Building in January and it has been adapted to both an audio-play and a short film.

It uses research by Dr Lane based upon the diagnostic systems in mental health services and the difficulties faced by those facing diagnostic uncertainty and those who fall between the gaps in categories.

In The System is mostly verbatim - in exactly the same words as were used originally, drawing on genuine experiences of those facing mental health issues.


Writer and director Juls Benson created characters based on Dr Lane’s research: two young males - with very different mental health issues - played by Josh Dineen and Callum Lloyd. The pair meet in the waiting room of a community mental health centre.

South Wales Argus:

Actors Callum Lloyd and Josh Dineen

Ms Benson said: “The play was very challenging to write, especially as I had to portray real people’s experiences which is always such a responsibility.

Due to positive reception of the play it was given further funding to be made into a short film – filmed and edited by Newport filmmakers Adam Prosser and Jack Bird, with Kiri Evans and Kittie Lewis performing as health professionals in the film.

This was Jack Bird's first 'of many' projects with Reality Theatre and he said: "I was thrilled to be asked to come on board to this project.

"Juls has written a brilliant and very interesting script on a topic that is rarely shown on screen. I am very excited to see what the future holds with this amazing team."

South Wales Argus:

Adam Prosser and Jack Bird filming part of In the System

Fellow film-maker Adam Prosser added: ""It was an absolute pleasure working on this film with an amazing cast and crew, covering elements of mental health awareness which inspired me throughout the project."

The production team felt the impact of the film too, with production manager Joe Wag stating: “This type of scenario happens every day and we are all aware of the consequences of mental illness.

“It is time for change.”

South Wales Argus:

In the System is being screened online this week on the Green Ribbon Arts Festival.

This new event in Wales - funded by the Arts Council of Wales and the Baring Foundation - aims to promote how the arts can prevent mental ill health, challenge perceptions, and improve artist’s networking.

It is being held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.