LIHSA Students go “Beyond The Surface” to Understand Mental Health


In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week, LIHSA urges our community to watch this performance from our 2021 Spring Festival that focuses on mental illness.

Mental health is continuously portrayed by the media with a negative connotation, which causes many people’s mental health to be belittled, or even diminished. This piece was designed to inspire others to break out from the stigmas the media creates and truly understand the depth within each other’s own mental health.

LIHSA students explored the intersection of performance, politics, and social transformation by studying and experiencing the work of activist artists in both traditional and non-traditional forms from across the globe. Students then created improvisational work drawing from what had been studied. The class culminated in the creation of an original activist performance. “Beyond The Surface” was one of four pieces selected for for the Spring Festival.


“The Wisp Sings” by Winter Aid
“Saturn” by Sleeping Last Night

Written & Performed by Shannon Altman, Valentina Farb, Ava Pappalardo
Direction by James Crichton
Lighting Design by Emma Fletcher
Voiceovers: Anonymous LIHSA Students
Mentor: Natalie L’Etoile
Lighting Mentor: Hayley Kasper

This performance was filmed at the LIHSA Spring Festival in 2021.

If you or someone you love needs help, please don’t wait.

Here are some resources that will provide the support you need.

LIHSA encourages our entire community to know the signs of mental illness…be aware, be vigilant and help #BreakTheStigma