Clarence Derwent award winner donates entire prize to mental health project
Clarence Derwent award winner Jonathan Broadbent has pledged to donate his prize money to a mental health project after revealing he had struggled with depression.
Broadbent was presented the £500 prize by Equity, celebrating his supporting role as Guy in the Donmar Warehouse’s production of My Night With Reg.
But the actor elected to contribute his winnings towards actors’ mental health support service ArtsMinds, explaining he wanted to “put back in” to the acting community.
At the Clarence Derwent ceremony Melody Grove also received an award for her part in Farinelli and the King at Shakespeare’s Globe and in the West End.
Collecting his award at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London, Broadbent said he “mourned Guy” after the run at the Donmar Warehouse was over.
“I suffered from a bout of depression afterwards,” he told the award audience. “Partly because my wife and I were homeless, we’d given up our flat in London, and we were trying to figure out how we would start the next part of our lives.”
He continued: “And the West End transfer… the house that we now own is the one that Reg built. Because that [money] went towards us having a beautiful new home.”
He said he wanted to mention the “low times” he experienced because it was so hard to sustain an acting career.
“It was hard 16 years ago when I started but it seems nigh on impossible now,” he added. “Part of that is how you just do the bit of being an actor: living and getting by and taking the knocks.
“And so I’d like to use my lovely prize – not towards a new carpet in the new house, but towards helping me put back in.”
ArtsMinds was founded by Equity, The Stage, Spotlight and the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine following a number of suicides within the acting community in 2013 and 2014.
The website offers users advice on careers, health, finances and relationships – and refers users to other charities and organisations that can help.
Louise Grainger, who heads up the website for Equity, praised Broadbent’s candour about his mental health struggle and said it would help fight stigma.
She said: “We were delighted that Jonathan talked about mental well-being in his Clarence Derwent Award acceptance speech as it remains one of society’s most challenging issues.
“People speaking publicly about their own experiences significantly helps highlight this, and a focus of ArtsMinds is tackling stigma by encouraging people to talk about mental health.”
A survey taken before the founding of ArtsMinds found that one in five people in the entertainment sector had actively sought help for mental health issues.
Furthermore, 46% of those who responded to a question about the state of their mental health described it as either poor or average.
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