It seems like everyone wants to “talk” about mental health these days though few are turning that talk into action.
Shelley Marshall might be the exception.
A Toronto performer who’s headlined evenings of song, stand-up, burlesque and circus, Marshall is also a suicide survivor who has lived with anxiety, depression, and PSTD her entire life.
Speaking with Daily Hive, Marshall said she’s accepted that there’s nothing that will eliminate the illness entirely, though she’s found that when she’s “in the company of good and like-minded people, the symptoms are gone.”
That’s why she’s opened her east-end loft to the public inviting the community through a post to the I am a Leslievillan Facebook page.
The post reads, “My loft is now a Mental Wellness drop in space a few days a week… A creative circus space where stigma doesn’t visit. It’s a place where you can curl up and just be in a safe but social setting away from your own nest. We will play and paint and colour and dance and celebrate our “wellness” our uniqueness and learn from each other.”
The Fully Bawdy Loft is Marshall’s home as well as the venue for her one-woman show, Hold Mommy’s Cigarette billed as “unfiltered and raising awareness for Mental Health through honesty turned into Art.”
Set pieces decorate the space giving it a circus-like aesthetic. A “skybed” offers space to curl up and read, meanwhile, there’s a stage with lights, a microphone and a big screen for watching movies.
“We’re going to do fun things,” Marshall elaborates; photo shoots, painting, cooking, drum circles. She notes that “part of healing from anxiety and social phobia is trying all kinds of things, there is no one equation for everyone.”
It’s free to partake, though donations are accepted toward “playing-it-forward,” an unofficial way of funding future activities.
Full Bawdy Loft Mental Wellness Drop-in Space
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 am to 3 pm (when Marshall is not touring her show)
Where: 290 Carlaw Street, Toronto