Don’t Panic! It’s Challenge Anneka by Sophie Winter to run as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

Don’t Panic! It’s Challenge Anneka

Don’t Panic! It’s Challenge Anneka

Devised and performed by Sophie Winter

‘**** The Scotsman Top Rated Show Edinburgh Fringe 2016

**** ‘It’s truthful, it’s moving and, like Anneka, it never loses its resilient, funny and upbeat perspective….A delight’  Broadway Baby

**** ‘I implore you to go and see it. It will open your eyes.’ Arts Award Voice

**** ‘a real joy to experience.’ Edinburgh 49

The show runs as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival; it will also be performed at The Bunker, London from 29th May – 9th June 19:00 (excl. Mondays; Matinee on Saturday and Sundays at 15:00)

Inspired by real-life stories, deviser and performer Sophie Winter dons a luminescent shell suit, bum bag and sparkly positive attitude to channel the spirit of the woman for whom no challenge is too big in a continuing effort to overcome her own challenge: the anxiety she has lived with for fifteen years. This one-woman show, made with input from Anneka Rice, the creator and star of the hit 90s TV series Challenge Anneka, presents a frank, funny and open exploration of a topic that often remains taboo. Theatre company on the button have been working with Anxiety UK and #itaffectsme to raise awareness about the mental health disorder that affects 1 in 6 people every year.

As well as using her own experiences, Sophie has drawn inspiration from interviews with other people with anxiety.

Challenge Anneka was a BBC series aired between 1989 and 1995 that saw presenter Anneka Rice travelling around the country in a signature blue truck completing charitable tasks, such as building a children’s play area, within a set number of days, persuading people to donate time and resources for free to succeed.

After a full run at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016, on the button toured the show to secondary schools, running workshops exploring mental health for students in Year 8 and above.

Sophie said, “Anxiety affects me in different ways, but in particular taking public transport can be a nightmare; it can lead to epic, exhausting treks that then add to my anxiety. I’ve had anxiety for the past 15 years, which still seems like quite a big thing to say. It’s amazing how many people I’ve spoken to have said ‘Wow! I had no idea!’ And I guess that’s the point about making the show: partly to encourage people to talk more about their anxiety and partly to help people understand it better. I wanted to make sure that the show was fun and accessible for everyone, and I suddenly thought of Challenge Anneka; I absolutely loved the programme when I was a kid, and I thought that Anneka was incredible at staying calm in situations that were super stressful. So as well as making the show more fun, channelling Anneka makes it easier to talk about my anxiety.”

on the button make theatre that moves. They are drawn to stories that go unheard: people who are ignored, voices of dissent, perspectives which are new to them. Their show No Place Like appeared at ZOO at the Fringe and won Best Ensemble at The Mimetic Festival 2013, and The Overcoat was nominated for best new play at the Buxton Fringe in 2012.

Performer-deviser Sophie Winter is a London based theatre maker and musician who graduated from the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in 2011. Her credits include working with Red Handed Theatre Company, Upstart Theatre, Ice and Fire Theatre Company and Forest Forge Theatre. As a director she has worked with Longborough Festival Opera and Yellow Earth Theatre. Sophie also works closely with Some Voices, an 800 strong choir, who she conducts and sings with professionally.

Director-deviser Ben Hadley is a theatre-maker – director, performer, writer – and co-artistic director of on the button with Sophie. He trained at the Lecoq School. He recently worked as a performer for Potential Difference and Concert Theatre. His recent work includes movement direction and dramaturgy for experimental choir Musarc, and as well as solo projects Camberwell Palace and iou1.

on the button have been working with #itaffectsme, an initiative to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental health which has reached 3.5 million people worldwide. As well as using her own experiences, deviser and performer Sophie Winter has drawn inspiration from interviews with other people with anxiety.

For more information on #itaffectsme, visit www.itaffectsme.co.uk

‎@on_thebutton | onthebuttontheatre.org

Running Time: 60 minutes | Suitable for ages 12+

Company Information

Devised and performed by Sophie Winter

Directed and co-devised by Ben Hadley

Lighting design by Jamie Platt

Sound design by Jon McLeod

Film- maker Matt Stacey

Developed with researchers from University College London