"Laughter is the tonic, the release, the surcease from pain."  ~ Charlie Chaplin 


"I have always possessed a mind that is as wild and uncontrollable as it is creative. I would, as a child, often find myself adventuring through the wilderness of my mind palace, lost in a world that I soon learned many people found difficult to comprehend. Crazy. A word a have encountered relentlessly throughout my life. 

When I was a young teenager my Mother took me to see the masterpiece that is Slava Polunin's, "Slava's Snowshow". I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the magical world that he created, and from that moment forth I knew in my heart, that I had always been a clown.  

However, as I transitioned to adulthood, the monsters of this world found me and over the next decade I became the victim of severe abuse. Trauma that shaped my dreams and twisted my reality to a place that the wild Little girl I once was could not recognise. Thankfully, I broke free from my abusers. But no matter how fast I tried to run, the demons followed me. 

I was diagnosed with Complex P.T.S.D and experienced dissociative episodes that ruled my life. The little girl had been forgotten and I pushed her away, certain that the darkness had claimed me and would never release me. 

But then I found colour again.

I slowly began to heal. I realised that laughter and fighting the darkness, not with anger and resentment but with love and  accepting yourself gave me more resolution than I could ever have imagined. And as I found my own strength, I lifted my head and I looked around to see that I was not alone. 

In fact, many people in my life had similar experiences. And regardless of their history, as people, we all suffered the same pain. Mental Illness wasn't just my own lonely affliction, it was the story that weaved itself through the lives of so many people. And yet when we speak about our Mental Health,  so often we are met with damaging stigma or at best, uncomfortable deflection. 

I realised something had to be done. I started to teach dance classes focused around empowerment. I spoke out about my story and learnt that honesty held power that was a force so explosive it inspired others to do the same. I had become an accidental activist and change began to happen around me. 

I realised that everyone has a story, personal and relative to their own experience as a human in their own right. I also realised, that so often these stories overlap, and that we experience the same pain. We also deserve to experience the same beautiful feelings; joy, love, laughter, support. We travel on our journey through life, often feeling alone, when we don't need to.

Finally, on my journey to healing, surrounded by powerful people who embrace their Mental Health, I found her again. The Little Clown who had been forgotten. I listened to her and realised that she had held the key all along. Together, we created S.A.D. 

S.A.D is my story. It is my mother's story. It is my aunt's story. It is my partner's story. It is my best friend's story. It is the story of the abused. It is the story of the depressed, of the addicted, of the anxious, of those suffering with P.T.S.D, of those helping and loving someone battling mental illness. But it is only the beginning.

We cannot tell every story. Not to the depth of each persons truth. But we can start with this show and hope that everyone can take away some simple truths. Firstly, that you are not alone. Secondly, that there is a beautiful sunrise at the end of even the darkest night and finally, that warmth of healing is something we are all deserving of. 

This was never just my journey. This is your journey. This is our journey; and we will stand together if we need." 

~ Charlie Wan