‘Every Brilliant Thing’ free performances set for May 31

Published 1:19 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

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In cooperation with Virginia Stage Company, “Every Brilliant Thing” comes to the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts stage Wednesday, May 31 for two free performances.

The first is a school matinee at 10 a.m., with an evening performance at 6 p.m. “Every Brilliant Thing” is presented for free during May Mental Health Awareness Month. The show is an immersive experience that blends comedy, improv and audience interaction to tells one individual’s story of growing up in the shadow of their mother’s struggle with suicidal depression while also learning to grapple with their own journey and life experiences. 

Surprisingly charming and delightful, “Every Brilliant Thing” provides a life-affirming jolt of humanism, reminding us that hope comes from the miracles of life’s minutiae. The aim is to destigmatize the conversation around mental health and encourage the audience to see the many ways in which we all experience joy and hardship.

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A panel discussion immediately follows the one-hour play featuring mental health professionals from Blakey Weaver Counseling Center, the Up Center and Western Tidewater Community Services Board. The panelists will answer audience questions, offer their thoughts on mental health challenges facing our community today and share information about mental wellness resources in Suffolk.

Virginia Stage Company and Sentara Healthcare present the road tour of ”Every Brilliant Thing,” written by Duncan Macmillan with Johnny Donahoe. Financial support from Sentara Healthcare enables Virginia Stage Company to produce 20 performances of this deeply impactful play about mental health free of charge in communities across Virginia. A grant from Obici Healthcare Foundation is underwriting the production in Suffolk.

“Once in a great while you come across a show that not only speaks to you but changes you,” Producing Artistic Director Tom Quaintance said. ”’Every Brilliant Thing’ is not only funny and moving, it sticks with you in a way that can change your view and understanding of the deeply important issues of depression and suicide.”

Nedra Moncrief-Craig, Sentara director of behavioral health services, said behavioral health is among the most pressing health care needs of our time. 

“Sentara Healthcare convened a system task force last year to strengthen our behavioral health services,” Moncrief-Craig said. “Supporting a meaningful play such as Every Brilliant Thing aligns with our effort to destigmatize mental health and reassure patients that it is okay to ask for help.” 

“Every Brilliant Thing: is recommended for children in grades seven and higher only. Admission is free, but seats are limited and requests for tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis. Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is located in historic Suffolk, 110 W. Finney Ave. Additional information is available at www.SuffolkCenter.org by calling 757-923-2900.