Napa Valley College (NVC) Performing Arts and This Is My Brave (TIMB) present “This Is My Brave” as part of the NVC Emergence Festival at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8 at the college.
A second performance will be at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9 at the St. Helena Performing Arts Center, 465 Main St.
Both productions will feature local youth ages 14-24 who live with mental health challenges or substance use disorders, telling their stories through spoken word, poetry, music, dance and more.
The cast includes the first band to ever perform on the stage for “This Is My Brave.” The four-member band from Napa High School will perform an original song about anxiety. Chris Marks, a graduate of Chapman University with a BFA in dance performance, will perform an original dance piece about navigating his journey with depression and sharing that those who suffer from mental health challenges aren’t alone. Emily Long, a sophomore from American Canyon, will share a poem that reflects on her coming to terms with her mental illness and how far she has come in accepting and loving herself.
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“This Is My Brave” was first produced in Napa Valley as a Leadership Napa Valley community project in 2017. Three groups are producing the 2020 show: This Is My Brave, Inc., the national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the stigma surrounding mental illness through storytelling; Napa Valley College Performing Arts’ Emergence Festival, an annual festival of original works by NVC students, faculty and staff; and the original producers of the show from Leadership Napa Valley.
"I am overjoyed that Napa Valley College Performing Arts is partnering with This Is My Brave,” said Jennifer King, artistic director at Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center. “We have been programming the Emergence Festival at NVC for the past two years, and this seemed like the perfect centerpiece for the 2020 festival. I’m especially excited that our Napa Valley College students are participating both behind the scenes and on stage. Personally, I am inspired to be working as one of the producers for this show.”
One in six American youth between the ages of 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, yet the topic continues to carry shame. “This Is My Brave” aims to end this stigma and silence by celebrating the stories of teens and young adults living successful lives with mental health and substance use challenges. Since its first show in 2014 in Arlington, VA, “This Is My Brave: The Show” has featured more than 800 people sharing their stories in 67 performances across the United States and Australia.
“We are excited to return to the Napa Valley with this new focus,” said Jennifer Marshall, TIMB executive director and co-founder. “For six years, ‘This Is My Brave’ has been shining a light on mental illness and the brave people who live and thrive with it all across the U.S. We recently launched high school and college programs, and I am so pleased to extend these efforts to the West Coast to help young people talk openly about mental health issues.”
“This Is My Brave" is presented by Napa Valley College Performing Arts with generous support from Adventist Health St. Helena, St. Joseph Health Queen of the Valley, Arts Council Napa Valley, American Medical Response, the Staglin Family and the St. Helena Performing Arts Center.
Tickets are $20 general admission; $10 students. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit performingartsnapavalley.org/brave. Due to some mature content and strong language, parental guidance is advised for children younger than 13.