Sister’s eating disorder makes playwright think
8:00am Sun Mar 12, 2017
 
Sisters Izzie (left) and Evie Osbon.
Sisters Izzie (left) and Evie Osbon.
A student’s two-year battle with anorexia nervosa inspired her sister to write a play that will be performed at this summer’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Evangeline (Evie) Osbon, 21, said she hoped the play would raise awareness of mental health issues, particularly among young people.

Evie, who is in her third year at ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) in London, wrote Think in collaboration with fellow student Maddie Coles.

The hard-hitting black comedy follows the lives of four young people with mental health problems and looks at the issues behind anorexia and depression.

It was triggered by Evie’s sister, Izzie, 17, of Fiskerton, who was diagnosed just before her 16th birthday.

Izzie said her problems started a year before. She had always been conscious about her weight and was sometimes the victim of name-calling.

She became obsessed with exercise, spending an hour on a cross trainer and bike every morning and evening, made herself sick, restricted her diet and skipped meals while at school.

Things came to a head during a family holiday when she struggled to eat anything.

Izzie had two stays in King’s Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield, but the CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) team realised she needed more help and she was admitted to Riverdale, a specialist eating disorders hospital in Sheffield.

“It was the most scary experience of my life,” said Izzie. “But I slowly began to accept that I needed to recover.”

She spent five months there and was well enough to return home in May.

Recently-discharged by the team, Izzie is now studying for her A-levels at Walton Girls’ High School, Grantham, and hopes to eventually train as a psychiatric nurse.

She has written a blog based on her experiences, which she hopes will help others who find themselves in a similar situation.

'It should be talked about'



“It is such a taboo subject, but one in four people suffer some sort of mental health problem. I feel it should be talked about,” she said.

Izzie said she was proud of Evie’s play and found it emotional when she watched a scene.

“I could see myself and hear myself talking,” she said.

A not-for-profit production house ­— Mind Out Theatre Co ­— has been created to put on the play.

They have raised enough money, with the help of family and friends, Evie’s drama school and a crowdfunding appeal, to take the play to Edinburgh, where it is hoped it will create enough interest for it to go on tour.

“It is very important that people talk about these issues,” said Evie. “I am pleased things are changing and it is becoming more acceptable to do so.”

Evie said although she had found it hard at times to understand Izzie’s problems, she empathised with her.

“I want to act for change,” said Evie. “I hope this play will help.”

There will be preview performances at ALRA and two London schools in June and Evie hopes other schools will book the play. She would like to take it to The Minster School, Southwell, where she was a pupil.

Anyone able to support the production financially or who would like more information can contact Evie at mindout321@gmail.com

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