Marcus HoudenA live show combining CGI special effects, live theatre and hit music designed to raise issues around mental health will go on a county-wide tour of primary schools this month.

The show has been created to make difficult subjects from eating disorders and depression to stress and bullying more accessible for primary school-aged children.

Marvellous Me has been produced by not-for-profit arts organisation Invisible Arts using a collaboration of work from actors, set designers, graphic designers, software specialists, film makers and educational experts. 

The show is an accessible and thought-provoking journey starting with how Victorians treated mental illness through to the current issue of body image and photographic manipulation. It explores how the brain works using specially created characters such as Smarty Pants and Clever Clogs.

Other characters in the story include The Doctor, played by Lincoln actor Marcus Houden (pictured), who, with the help of his time machine and his little yellow friends, helps 12-year-old Joe come to grips with understanding why he is feeling sad and anxious and what can be done to help him.

The script was written by Julie Fox, informed by work carried out with Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Lincolnshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

The work has been funded by Enable East through their Big Lottery-funded Well-being in the East portfolio and commissioned in Lincolnshire by Lincoln-based cultural solutions UK.

Marvellous Me will visit 20 schools and be performed in front of 4,000 children, teachers and health professionals.

“We are really excited about the show, and seeing the reaction of the kids,” said Jamie Marcus of Invisible Arts. “There’s lots of innovation in the performance as we felt we needed to do something entirely different to engage young children in such a difficult subject as mental health.”

“And it’s important we do engage them,” added David Lambert of cultural solutions UK. “Evidence suggests that mental health problems affect a staggering number of youngsters and we can’t address those issues until they are out in the open.”