Andrew Henry, the mainspring of Red line Productions and the Old Fitzroy Theatre, strikes as one of the most upbeat characters you can ever meet.
But that image, for some time, has been a mask.
In Vertical Dreaming he reveals his battle with depression in a cabaret of the songs and poetry that helped him come to terms with his feelings and pull him through dark times.
Even after the release of the 2015 Victoria University report Working in the Entertainment Industry spot-lit the prevalence of depression and anxiety in the arts and culture sector, and sparked a series of articles and radio programs, many feel unwilling or unable to acknowledge or relate their experiences.
“I knew mental health in the arts was a huge problem,” says Henry. “I always felt it was kept secret by individuals affected, for some terrible fear that it might make then appear weak, different or unreliable.”
For Henry, the process of creating and performing Vertical Dreaming has been intensely therapeutic in itself. “I am using the platform available to me to stand tall, stand proud, and share the simple message through wonderful poems that it is OK not to be so and that nobody should feel alone.”