Participation not Procrastination @Mothers_Ruin

I had a ball performing at Mothers Ruin on Friday 12th September, you know when you’re in Flow, and you totally let go on stage (not like that, let go creatively silly!) But in the build up to this outing I was dealing with the ‘tricky second show’, which is totally like the ‘tricky second album’. I was blocked, creatively constipated, stuck, down, confuzzled, apathetic and just plain “what have I got to say, about anything, a big zero of nothing, that’s what.” And so when, 2 hours before the show, I decided to give my self an award on stage to get me ON to the stage, I found a plastic bunny fromPoundland that lights up – bloody brilliant – and that would be my ON. I accepted the Bunny Of Hope Award in recognition of a life time achievement in the search for Happiness…and so my new show “What the F**k is Happiness” was born….and  the making of the Tricky Second Show has begun.

It’s not over. And it’s collectives like Mothers Ruin that are giving people like me – the folk who are makers in their own kitchens, lounges, bedrooms, the daydreamers on the bus, the people who think they’ve got nothing much to say but sometimes find themselves on stage having a collective experience of joyful silliness and laughter – the chance to feel part of a community, a collective, a place to belong. So thank you Mothers Ruin, thank you the open warm audience of Kings Arms and thank you to the Bunny Of Hope. And I would like to send this award out to all of us today who are feeling a bit Blah…

Bunny of Hope

Hi, Anxiety – also available as a talk, lecture or workshop

In addition to touring Hi, Anxiety as a full theatre performance, I am also available to do more public speaking around the issues touched on in the show – mental health, anxiety, depression, older people, caring/coping, the role of health professionals.

I performed an excerpt of the show to new social work students at MMU this autumn as part of their initial induction. Ali Gardner, Senior Lecturer, said:

I have been teaching social work for over 10 years and this has been one of the most impressive things I have seen. The students singled the performance out as the most powerful part of their induction process as it offered them an alternative means of engaging with the issues relating to service user and carer issues.

I was also pleased to be booked as the headline act at the closing ceremony of the Love Arts Festival in Leeds. They said:

We were honoured to have Debs Gatenby in attendance to share her moving and funny story of mental health, ‘Hi Anxiety’.

If you would like to know more about booking me to attend your event or conference, or to speak to a group of students or other professionals, then simply drop me a line at

Performing at TedX, Bradford

Performing at TedX, Bradford