Student Mental Health – Interview with Dylan Frankland
16th March 2022
Students of all ages deal with different issues whilst at university – for some, it is the first time they have moved away from home and must learn how to live with others and can come with its challenges. Moving to a new city, balancing work, and social life, and looking after yourself can be overwhelming, so it is important that students know how to check in on their mental health.
At Marshalls, we have created our new, student mental health course in collaboration with the University of Brighton. The course features a podcast that guides students through the course and encourages mindfulness throughout the course.
The podcast was written and produced by Dylan Frankland, who has previously done theatre work regarding mental health, and has first hand experience of being a student after studying Drama at University of Exeter. We spoke to Dylan to find out more about him, and how this collaboration came about, check out the interview below:
Could you tell us a bit about your background, how you got into this line of work?
So, theatre’s always been part of my family’s DNA almost- both my parents were heavily involved in amateur dramatics back in Cornwall, and my dad was a drama teacher as well so theatre and the arts have always been an option. My three siblings are also artists as well, working across various mediums (performance, music, theatre etc) so it’s something we’ve all inherited!
But specifically, I got into this line of work after graduating from Uni (I studied Drama at Exeter) and then being given a residency at The Bikeshed Theatre in Exeter which just gave me a whole year to create and start exploring the type of work I wanted to make.
Could you tell us a bit about previous work you have been involved in?
One of the first shows I made professionally was a piece called A PINT-SIZED CONVERSATION. It was a piece about caring for those experiencing depression and was performed in unusual performance spaces such as pubs, cafes, unis, schools, offices and even an abandoned boat warehouse. We wanted to try and reach audiences where they already were rather than have audiences pluck up the courage to come and engage with a piece about mental health – we wanted it to be a piece that was accessible as possible.
Performing in unusual spaces like this and having a very conversational approach to the performance has become a running theme in my work which has led me to also creating more interactive pieces, that put the audience right at the centre of the action. I think allowing an audience to engage more directly with a piece is particularly useful if your work focuses on social or political issues as the audience aren’t passive, they’re completely part of it and so they must think about how the issues impact their own life as well.
Do you have a creative process, or does it depend on the project you’re working on? What was your process for this?
I suppose my process always comes from thing about the audience’s experience first. So with this it was about trying to work out what I would want as a listener navigating this module and what type of walk or more meditative experience might be wanted and then trying to fit the content around that.
What would be your biggest piece of advice for a student struggling at university or college?
To remember you’re not alone and to talk about it. Even if someone doesn’t know specifically how you’re feeling just sharing what you’re struggling with is helpful.
Also going for a walk and getting out of the house! I think it is one of the most restorative things you can do (it’s something I always forget to do when stressed but whenever I do is the most helpful thing for putting everything into perspective).
We are really excited about this course, and the good it will do for students across the country. To find out more information about our course, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or head over to the course page here