Personal demons brought to stage

David Degiorgio is bringing a hard-hitting look at mental health to The Old Courts
David Degiorgio is bringing a hard-hitting look at mental health to The Old Courts
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A Wigan playwright is bringing his hard-hitting look at mental illness based on his own experiences to a hometown show.

David Degiorgio, from Worsley Mesnes, is putting on Watching Goldfish Suffocate at The Old Courts later this month as part of Wigan Arts Festival.

The play, which charts David’s own path from successfully forging a career in acting to ending up in hospital and being diagnosed with psychosis, is returning to the boards after a two-year absence.

Watching Goldfish Suffocate comes to the borough after winning two awards at the Greater Manchester Fringe festival, which included David scooping the prestigious prize for best actor.

The 35-year-old says the play remains as topical as it was when he created it, both because issues of mental illness remain in the headlines and because he himself has continued to endure difficult periods.

He said: "Not long after I had done the play I had an unfortunate downward spiral. I wanted to be away from anyone so I walked the length of the country, which took me two and a half months.

"I then recently started to remember what we did last time with the play and how far we brought it. Putting it on again brought the memories back of what it can do for other people. We had a guy in the audience who came up to us after the show and said he only now understood his girlfriend’s bipolar disorder.

"We’ve done really well in Manchester and I want to keep the momentum going but I’m quite nervous about performing in Wigan. I used to work at The Old Courts and they have been fantastic with me, so it’s about putting something back."

The darkly-comic production charts with honest and a bit of black humour David battling through some tough times with symptoms of anxiety and depression that would eventually lead to his diagnosis.

David and his team are currently turning Watching Goldfish Suffocate into a screenplay with the hopes of eventually getting it into cinemas.

He is also hoping bringing the play to Wigan will start conversations around mental health issues still very prominent in society.

The play is staged at The Old Courts on September 26.

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