News 3 February

Kooth Mental Health Service Supports UK Theatre Tour of A Monster Calls

XenZone’s online mental health service, Kooth partners with A Monster Calls as it tours 17 venues across the UK commencing in February

XenZone, UK digital mental health pioneer, is to support the upcoming tour of the critically acclaimed A Monster Calls, an Old Vic production, in association with Bristol Old Vic. Patrick Ness’s bestselling novel, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, is brought vividly to life in the Olivier Award-winning production by director Sally Cookson and tours the UK from 6 February until June 2020. Professionals from XenZone’s flagship Kooth service, which offers online mental health and wellbeing support to young people, will help support post-show question and answer sessions and provide information about Kooth at several locations. 

The Q&As, featuring cast and crew members, will be open to all children and young people who are interested in exploring the issues raised during the performance.

Kooth gives children and young people free, anonymous and easy access to an online community of peers and a team of experienced counsellors. A Monster Calls explores love, grief and healing, topics that are regularly explored by young people within the Kooth community. 

Dan Mills-Da’Bell, XenZone’s Head of Safeguarding, said, “Both personally and professionally, I’ve seen and lived through the benefits of engaging with the arts. The fresh perspective it can offer young people when it comes to reflecting on their own mental health can be incredibly helpful, especially when those thoughts and feelings are hard to describe or process. A Monster Calls had a huge impact on me as a piece of storytelling, enabling me to find some emotional truth in loss.” 

The story of A Monster Calls follows thirteen-year-old Conor and his mum who have managed just fine since his dad moved away. But as his mum gets sick, Conor’s grandmother won’t stop interfering and the kids at school won’t look him in the eye. Then, one night, Conor is woken by something at his window. A monster has come to tell Conor “tales from when it walked before”. When it’s finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears. 

The book has sold over a million copies and garnered huge critical acclaim, including an unprecedented double win of the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for outstanding children’s literature and illustration.

Representatives from XenZone’s Kooth service will attend and support talks and performances including Nottingham, Salford, Sheffield, Cambridge, Canterbury, Guildford, Plymouth and Leicester.  

The Monster Challenge From A Monster Calls

Are you a young person with a passion for telling stories? Do you feel the itch to grab a notebook and pen to respond to the world around you? Or do you know a young person aged 10-25 who loves creative writing? 

To accompany the UK Tour,  the production is running The Monster Challenge, seeking short stories from young people aged 10-25, nationwide. The challenge is open to all – anyone who has a story to tell.

We are looking for the boldest, bravest and most creative short stories, so let your imaginations run wild! 

Stories submitted from each region across the tour will be selected and narrated by members of the cast, in a series of videos posted up on social. 

For full details about the challenge and how to enter, simply download the Monster Challenge Pack here. Pick up a pen and go. Run with it. Make trouble…

Submissions can be uploaded here

For further information on A Monster calls, please head here.

For further information on Kooth, please head here.