Updated: Tuesday, 13th November 2018 @ 4:08pm

Salford writer Sarah Emmott tells MM why she shined a comedic light on living with ADHD in her upcoming play

Salford writer Sarah Emmott tells MM why she shined a comedic light on living with ADHD in her upcoming play

| By Karilynn DeWolff

Salford actress Sarah Emmott is using comedy to shine a light on the ups and downs of living with ADHD.

The writer – who attended Salford University – has produced a play, called Declaration, which will launch its 2017 season in mid-May.

The autobiographical production explains Sarah’s journey to her diagnosis with the aim to inform and reach out to people who have or know others with the condition.

Declaration avoids the ‘doom and gloom’ often linked with mental health and instead focuses on the optimistic perspective of life with the neurobiological disorder.

Sarah tells MM: “For ADHD, it’s important to look not only at how it will impale your life but also at all the positive traits that it gives you and all the ridiculousness, the comedy and spontaneity of life.

“Starting a thought process is being able to laugh at it and see the comedy value in something.”

As the second year running of Declaration, the content has been tweaked to reflect the here and now, with the idea that if more people are talking about mental health, the stigma will fade.

The playwright explains: “It’s important for the show to be useful to people and they can take something away from it.”

Sarah feels her acceptance of ADHD is aided by talking about it publicly with others and also through private conversations with her friends and family.

She adds: “What’s helped is having the support system which has brought me from feeling like a broken toy who couldn’t be fixed to not feeling like I am broken at all.

“That isn’t a journey everyone gets to go on because not everyone has the support system I had to be able to do that journey.”

Sarah has organised a mental health support worker to join her on the tour across England where audience members can use a designated space before, during or after the show to share experiences and ask questions about ADHD.

This was successfully tried at The Lowry in Salford last season and 60 people used it.

“People can come and use the space to ground themselves. We wanted to create a space where people could talk to someone,” Sarah says.

“When we opened it in The Lowry, there were quite a few people who spoke to me afterward and thanked me for being able to talk about it.”

Also running alongside the tour are five training days with the ADHD Foundation, which offer free places for people who work with young people –teachers, youth workers, youth leaders and people who work in community and youth centres.

During the sessions, advice is given on how people can apply strategies to improve environments for child and young people and to understand how their mind works.

Sarah explains giving a child a piece of blue tack to fiddle with isn’t destructive to another child’s education, but can really help the child with ADHD.

“Something as simple as that can change things for young people,” Sarah says.

The NHS believes 2% to 5% of school-aged children may have ADHD – which means attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – and it can occur in any child, regardless of intellectual ability.

Most research and knowledge is based around children and is less documented in adults and even less so in women – Sarah is hoping to change all this by sharing her own experiences in Declaration.

Declaration is showing at Oldham Library on May 13 and 14. It will then touch down at The Lowry on June 24.