Spirit of the Rainbow Heron

Jess Gibson: Work in Progress

“how to feel comfortable with feeling uncomfortable”

Rainbow Heron Small Grants Fund is very pleased to be supporting Jess Gibson and her show “Work in Progress”.  The show will premiere at Theatre Deli Sheffield on 10th October 2018 as part of celebrations for World Mental Health Day 2018 – which this year has a focus on “young people and mental health in a changing world”.

More informationAll events

“How do you Feel? What do you think? Sometimes, everyday questions turn into existential crises for Jess as she struggles to manage her mental health – Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety and Depression. However, through humour and a passion for dance, Jess begins to learn how to feel comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.”

Jess says: “Work in Progress is a warm, lighthearted solo show about being Scouse, dancing to Britney Spears and sharing stories of hope. Welcome on this journey with me and sorry, Nan, for swearing! Exploring my experience through performance provides room for expression but also allows opportunity for an understanding of, and connection to, myself, others and the world around me. After struggling with mental health issues and being out of work for some time, I have come to rediscover purpose and value in being creative, contributing to the community and being a part of the larger conversation about what it means to be a human being.”

‘For people who don’t know much about mental health, the play is a great way to gain understanding. For those who do, the lines will be all the more moving.’
Jo Eckersley, Deputy Managing Director of Sheffield Flourish

Jess did a special performance of Work in Progress for Spirit of the Rainbow Heron, as part of the national Time to Talk Day 2019 (Thursday 7th February 2019) with various opportunities for audience members to engage in discussion after the show. https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/production/work-in-progress/ 

Along with producer Joseph Willis and audiovisual designer Aaron Mears Jessica has been taking the show on the road to a  number of venues in the north, including  the Coliseum, Oldham and Square Chapel Arts Theatre in Halifax, as well Camden People’s Theatre, London.  The tour finishes in  autumn 2019.

The show has been well-received, having a big impact on audience members. One audience member recommended it to all her friends “so they could understand me better“.  Students of Performing Arts came from Leeds to see the show in Sheffield as part of a course assignment, having been recommended by their course tutor.   Also Jessica has received an invitation to perform the show for NHS staff and patients. 
Her work is also supported by The Sheffield Theatres Third Angel Mentoring Scheme   

Aims for the audience include:

  • A safe and relaxed environment; a space to speak about mental health.
  • Reduce stigma through informative and engaging performance with a specific aim to engage health professionals to offer opportunities outside of a clinical setting.
  • A feeling of togetherness and community

Professional aims include:

  • Development and validation of artistic practice.
  • Strengthening existing connections with charities and venues.
  • Developing new relationships and collaborations to cultivate strong industry links and projects for the future.


Read more about Jess and Work in Progress at  https://www.facebook.com/JessiJayGibson/