The History of Shellshock

Established in 2017 by Ryan Gearing, Shell Shock Media is a community interest company providing a partnership between the arts, service charities and the military community. Its primary objective is to provide innovative ways to educate and address issues faced by veterans their families, and the wider military community (to include blue light services) with a focus on mental health, resilience and emotional wellbeing issues.

Established in 2017

With the aid of grants and funding from supporting organisations we adapted our pilot project into a nationwide production (for 2017). Another aim of the project is to provide an academic evaluation of Shell Shock: the play with the initial focus on understanding the impact of theatre on the audiences’ comprehension and perception of mental illness in a post-military context (the rationale in doing so is because public perception of mental illness is well received under the umbrella of PTSD).

INITIAL TOUR

In the autumn of 2016 the Chancellor awarded this project a grant from the LIBOR fund to enable us to develop the production and embark on a number of venues in late spring / early summer 2017. In 2017 Shell Shock toured number of strategic locations, often in reach of larger military communities, army barracks, veterans organisations, interested NHS trusts etc.

 

The following locations were reached in this short pilot: Brighton, Plymouth, Havant, Exeter, Winchester, Horsham, London, Canterbury, Aldershot, Cambridge, Folkestone and Edinburgh. In addition to these public venues, we also performed behind the wire for serving personnel with the support of Help for Heroes and 11th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters South East at HM Naval Base HMS Drake, Plymouth; St Omer Barracks, Aldershot and Carver Barracks, Wimbish.

In our 2017 pilot tour we worked with a wide audience of interested individuals (from all walks of life) alongside a select invited sample of charity and third sector specialists, military, health and policy specialists (including those with ministerial responsibilities) some of whom were invited to watch the production at one or more of three strategic venues and at major arts festivals. The estimated impact on direct and indirect beneficiaries was in the region of 1000-2,000 people in this tour.

During this tour we developed the performance to provide a showcase Q&A session led by support partners Sussex Armed Forces Network (NHS) and the Veterans and Families Institute at Anglia Ruskin University. This event can be rolled out to new locations and audiences and invited guests from NHS England, MoD and other 3rd sector organisations to suit.