Paul Whittaker is an artist, filmmaker and playwright working out of Cardiff. The UHB first started working with Paul as he was part of the exhibition in the Hearth Gallery with Disability Arts Cymru as part of the Walls: Muriau Welsh Mental Health Arts Festival in 2016.
Paul was diagnosed with bi-polar manic depression whilst studying film in university. He has spent his life exploring his condition through different art forms.
Paul has exhibited as a digital artist, worked in theatre, television, dance as well as independent film. His numerous clients include – The Sherman Theatre, The Old Vic, Channel 4, Mind Cymru, Public Health Wales and Arts Council Wales.
Paul has also worked with Cardiff and Vale UHB staff in our adult mental health unit, Hafan y Coed, providing them with training and first-hand experience of what it’s like to live with a mental health condition.
We were fascinated and intrigued by his approach to the lived experience of mental illness and invited him to develop work for a solo exhibition in January 2018.
Paul’s exhibition Miscellaneous RULES explored the arbitrary rules by which we are all forced to live. Some of these are generated by the society and culture we live in, some by our families, our social circles, our religion, our media and, of course, by ourselves. Our rules dictate how we live our lives.
Some of Paul’s work from this exhibition is still on display in the corridors of Llandough Hospital.
This year, as part of the Welsh Public Health Conference, Paul’s critically-acclaimed play, Gods and Kings, is being performed at Cardiff City Hall on the 8th November.
Gods and Kings sees Paul take the experience of his diagnosis and put it centre stage as an intensely personal one-man play starring Robert Bowman.
The play has already enjoyed a successful run at Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre where audiences hailed the performance as a thought provoking, humorous, powerful, emotional and riveting portrayal of mental illness.
Watch a trailer for the play below.