Canned Laughter - It's OK Not To Be OK

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Guild House

Upper St Martin's Lane



United Kingdom

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Canned Laughter - produced & presented by Andrew Eborn. Series on mental health & well being. Great line-up of guest speakers.

About this Event



Date: 18th July 2019

Time: 1pm

Venue: Equity, Guild House, Upper St Martin's Ln, London WC2H 9EG


Following the phenomenal success of the mental health series of talks at Equity TVB's meetings several people contacted Vice Chair, Andrew Eborn encouraging him to produce and present more events and to continue to raise awareness.

As some of you know, Andrew is already involved in various initiatives including a TV series which was launched in Cannes, The Octopus TV Head to Toe of Health in association with some leading medical institutions.

As a result of demand, Andrew Eborn will also continue to support the work of Addam Merali-Younger (Membership Support - Bullying, Harassment & Mental Health) including with a series of special events.

The first special event will be held on 18th July at 1pm at Guild House with the launch of "CANNED LAUGHTER - IT'S OK NOT TO BE OK".

Andrew has already lined up some great speakers including:

Bea Grist - Life Coach, Spotlight

Stefan Walters - Systemic Psychotherapist who was Clinical Lead for Addictions in the NHS and now works in Private Practice on Harley Street

Charlie Claydon - Chief of Chocolate, The Well-Bean Company

Morna Burdon Performer, Singer, Director, Writer, Chair East of Scotland Equity Branch; Ex-Convenor E of Sc Mental Health Working Party; Author : “Sometimes We are Treated Quite Well”.

Addam Merali-Younger Equity Membership Support Assistant – Bullying, Harassment & Mental Health

Jane Sanger - producer & director

Jonathan Hansler - actor & comedian

Anthony Darkstone. producer & performer

Addam Merali-Younger commented “Mental health is a vital consideration for our union, so it’s great to hear of the impact of TVB’s branch meetings on the topic earlier this year, and the drive from this to organise more awareness raising events. I look forward to speaking at the first of these events in July and to supporting the branch in making these regular events to raise awareness of and support for mental health issues within the sector.”

The event is FREE and open to all!

Bea Grist

Life Coach, Spotlight

Bea Grist is a Co-Active® Life Coach based at Spotlight – the UK’s home of casting. Bea is passionate about increasing awareness and understanding of good mental health within the industry. She primarily works with actors to support their own good mental health, confront challenges and doubt, improve self-care and sustain a sense of wellbeing whilst helping them to clarify their purpose and sense of direction.

Prior to becoming a coach, Bea marketed theatre and the arts for thirteen years, working with companies including Almeida Theatre, National Theatre, Sonia Friedman Productions, Nottingham Playhouse and Ambassadors Theatre Group. When she’s not coaching, Bea also manages Spotlight’s email marketing and CRM strategy.

Charlie Claydon

Chief of Chocolate, The Well-Bean Company

Did you know there's a real Charlie with a chocolate factory?

He's invented the next generation of chocolate, and is using it to support mental wellbeing in the most delicious way possible!

After experiencing his own challenges with mental health, Charlie decided to bring his passion for better food and the mind together, and launch The Well-Bean Company.

Using natures finest plant-based ingredients, The Well-Bean Company crafts luxurious bean to bar chocolate. A minimum of 10% of all profits helps to support mental wellbeing projects in the UK.

Morna Burdon

Performer, Singer, Director, Writer

Chair East of Scotland Equity Branch; Ex-Convenor E of Sc Mental Health Working Party; Author : “Sometimes We are Treated Quite Well”.

As well as being an Equity activist, Morna Burdon has created many productions and programmes focusing on Mental Health starting ( as far as she can recall) with the Seven Ages of Woman circa 1980 looking at Women and Mental Health from age 9-90.

“The issue of Mental Health was first raised in the East of Scotland Equity Branch in 2012 with a Working Party being set up in 2013 and that same year, at 3 weeks notice, during Edinburgh’s International Festival Fringe, the East of Scotland Branch ran an open seminar on Stress in the Entertainment Industry. This was in response to having read that yet another member of our profession had killed themselves.

The report “Sometimes we are Treated Quite Well” arose out of that event and was widely circulated by the Branch to a range of theatres & theatre agencies, Equity National Office & Branches, BAPAM with responses and interest coming from as far afield as Australia.

This highlighted the need to create a National post to focus on Mental Health and Bullying.

"Loneliness, insecurity, poverty and frequent rejection are still characterised as simply “going with the territory” and this may be true but it is also true that the need for respect, kindness, belonging and support is common to all human beings – even theatre professionals! We are talking about culture change - changing the territory - and that takes time. The work has just begun”.

Stefan Walters

Stefan Walters is a Systemic Psychotherapist who was Clinical Lead for Addictions in the NHS and now works in Private Practice on Harley Street. He has been published worldwide, and has appeared on the BBC. Prior to his career in psychology Stefan was in the music industry, and is familiar with the unique challenges of being a performer and working within the media. Many of his clients today work within the industry, and he offers specialist approaches in working with performance anxiety, stage persona / identity crises, ADHD, stage fright, creative blocks, panic disorders, and addictions.

Jane Sanger

Jane Sanger started life at 11 in her first stage role whilst attending Laine Theatre Arts. Many more roles followed in theatre and film. She went on to study history of art at university and then began to teach both art and drama. Seven years ago she stepped sideways into film directing and has now made 14 short films, won many awards and been shown at festivals across the world. She is completing her first feature film this summer, 2019. She prefers either dramas with a social message or thrillers or historical drama. She made a film completed this year about depression and suicide called "Struggle" in young people following a four year experience with someone very close to her. The video is available as a download to show to schools with useful resources contained within it.

Jonathan Hansler

"Canned Laughter is fake laughter.

The laughter of covering up, the feeling of having to be funny to mask who you really are. The canned is the can, if you like the prison that you're in when you can't express truly who you are.

It's all about freedom, freedom of expression, freedom to be who you really are and the freedom of getting rid of the fake smile the fake way of being, throwing the shackles off and saying " this is me!"

The problem with this industry is that it is full of artificial behaviour because people are afraid to talk openly about difficult lives.

And being afraid or withdrawn, can cause you to use drugs, booze and cigarettes as a way of coping.

I know I did it.

I'm talking now because I'm sick of hiding.

It's ok not to be ok.

If you were bullied, abused or psychologically hurt you are not to blame.

Wouldn't it be brilliant if this industry actually started to feel real?”

Anthony Darkstone

"Talking from the perspective of a Producer, Performer and indeed Empirical experience. I am not a Clinical Psychologist but an avid Researcher & Student for some 45 years on the topic - ergo, I present a practical overview.

I have given this Talk in the US, (including Las Vegas) Denmark, Portugal and England. My talk is interactive and deals with the underlying causes of Sadness, Anxiety & Depression. I discuss, the oft-neglected that role DNA plays in these conditions, the continual Stress of being a performer maintaining an up-beat Public personna whilst living a private nightmare. I also discuss the Pros and cons of Allopathic medicine, Alternatives, and other possible solutions.

I do not preach. I do not dictate. I do not offer emotive opinion. I present valid & verifiable evidence and leave it to the attendees to evaluate. My objective is to stimulate thinking and thus create a new perspective.

I am not in a position to evaluate others who speak or write on the subject but it is my understanding that there are not many who approach the subject as a Mental Condition as many perceive it as Mental Illness. As such, once perceived as a Condition and not an illness the thought process changes and a route map is created by the individual towards either Healing or the means to diminish the condition.”


Announcement of the launch of "CANNED LAUGHTER - IT'S OK NOT TO BE OK" at ARC received universal support with various Members from other branches also approaching Andrew Eborn to get involved.

It has been agreed that this will be a regular event. Further dates have already been arranged ...

Monday 7th October – 13.00 – 16.30

Monday 20th January – 13.00 -17.30

Andrew Eborn is also in discussions regarding an event in Cannes on 13th October immediately before the TV festival

If you'd like to be involved in any way in the launch or in future events please contact

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Upper St Martin's Lane



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