Declaration is a new touring play that examines the faces we wear to fit in – and what happens when we are forced to declare our differences.
Developed in consultation with medical professionals and mental health support groups, Declaration aims to challenge stereotypes with a curious, comic and candid look at ADHD, mental health and diagnosis in the 21st century.
Instinctive, curious, bold and bouncy, Sarah is a mighty proud square peg – which wouldn’t be such a problem if the hole wasn’t so damn round. Her childhood doctor thought it was sugar. Her current doctor thinks its ADHD. Sarah still feels different, so what will a label do? Will it change the way you see her and the way she sees herself?
With autobiographical storytelling, comedy, and conversations with audiences, Declaration takes you on “a vibrant and daring adventure that asks you to roll around in your weirdness, make a hat out of it and dance”. Which all sounds rather lovely.
Writer and performer Sarah Emmott says: “I’ve always felt different, but never wrong. The older I got, the harder it became to juggle everything, and I wasn’t coping as well as I was pretending to.
“I’ve known a lot of people who have battled with their mental health; you never know what happens behind closed doors, so I want to open mine, invite you in with a warm welcome and declare that I’m not okay, with hope that we might be able to talk about it together.”
Diagnosis of adult ADHD isn’t straight forward, and Sarah discovered that you often need to be living in the extremities of the condition to receive any sort of support.
Her production seeks to show that adult diagnosis can be complex, frustrating and isolating, exploring how it changes the way people are viewed by society and the relief and grief that comes with it.
Declaration also seeks to challenge the mainstream media image of ADHD – not just a ‘naughty child’ tearing round a supermarket, it can be a 31-year-old woman trying desperately to get it together and get to work on time.
Declaration follows Sarah’s journey from childhood to present day, offering a rare insight into how ADHD impacts at different stages of a person’s life.
The production is presented in partnership with the ADHD Foundation, and Sarah was shortlisted for ‘Best Actress in a Studio Production’ at the Manchester Theatre Awards for her performance in Declaration.