Mental healthcare practices in the United States have changed quite a bit in the past two centuries. State hospitals and asylums once housed the great majority of mentally ill individuals, but definitions for what constituted mental illness were often vague and included conditions like epilepsy and PMS. In the 1950s and 60s, government officials pushed towards the deinstitutionalization of mental health care, and many individuals experiencing mental illness were released into the community.
A new show on stage at Burning Coal Theatre explores life inside an asylum in the United States in the mid-1960s. It uses aerial theater to explore the lives of four patients and one nurse whose lives are connected through this building. Host Frank Stasio talks with co-writers Kendall Rileigh and Nicki Miller who founded Only Child Aerial Theatre, a Brooklyn-based group co-producing the piece. He is also joined by local actors Deon Releford-Lee and Mikaela Saccoccio. “Asylum” is on stage at Murphey School Auditorium in Raleigh through Sunday, Nov. 1.
Watch the trailer for the show: