In Two Minds. Image by Leo Byrne and Publicis.

The national arts and health website is delighted to announce that theatre artist Joanne Ryan has been awarded our 2023 Documentation Bursary to produce a radio documentary about In Two Minds. This ambitious, affecting piece of theatre written by Joanne looks at the realities of living with bipolar disorder and its effects on relationships and family.

In Two Minds was instigated and inspired by Joanne’s mother, who lived with bipolar disorder, and who was a key collaborator in the development process. In 2018, Joanne led a series of workshops with other affected families and individuals in partnership with mental health organisations GROW and Limerick Mental Health. The development phase also involved collaborations with consultant psychiatrists, healthcare providers and neuroscientists. Throughout development, Joanne received regular mentoring from Bristol-based mental health performance organisation Many Minds to develop a model of best practice for the project.

In 2021, In Two Minds was commissioned by Fishamble Theatre Company for production and will premiere in Waterford’s Theatre Royal, Dublin Theatre Festival and Belltable, Limerick in October 2023. The final phase of development will bring together participants from the original workshops with artists on the design team to explore ways of using the theatrical form to authentically represent the experiences of the condition.

Diarmuid McIntyre of Grey Heron Media will produce a radio documentary on the development and staging of In Two Minds, capturing the creative challenges and the unique collaborative process involved in shaping this original theatre work in an arts and health context. The documentary will explore how the final piece is being informed by consultation with other families affected by bipolar disorder, teasing out what is specific to the Ryan family experience and what is universal, with insights from health professionals including Dr Catherine Corby.

In Two Minds was originally commissioned by Belltable: Connect and was developed with the support of The Arts Council, Limerick City and County Council, Lime Tree Theatre, Neil Horgan, The Community Foundation of Ireland and Fishamble’s New Play Clinic.

The documentation bursary is funded by the HSE and the Arts Council.

Joanne Ryan by Shane Vaughan.


Joanne Ryan is an award-winning Limerick-based theatre artist with a track record of making quality, ambitious work that is inspired by lived experience, has a positive social impact and often sits at the intersection of arts and health. Joanne’s theatre productions include Eggistentialism (2016), a multi-award-winning solo, autobiographical show that charts her journey to a decision about motherhood while looking down the barrel of her final fertile years and through the lens of Ireland’s reproductive health history; In Two Minds (2023), an ambitious, affecting play inspired by her family’s experience of bipolar disorder and informed by the experience of others; and the upcoming We Are So Lightly Here, which combines autobiography, testimony, storytelling and music to explore prescient issues around death and loss in Ireland. Joanne is currently Artist-in-Residence at Ormston House and Theatre Artist in Residence at Belltable | Lime Tree Theatre. Joanne works as a mentor to artists across artforms with Minding Creative Minds.

Diarmuid McIntyre is the founder and creative director of Grey Heron Media which specialises in creative compelling audio storytelling for radio, podcast and beyond. Grey Heron Media also explores the artistic and creative possibilities of the interplay of sound and story on specially commissioned audio pieces for performance in physical spaces and online. Grey Heron’s audio work in rooted in community, informed by location and driven by human interaction. Diarmuid’s radio features and documentaries have appeared on the BBC, NPR, CBC (Canada), RTE Radio 1, Jr & Lyric FM, Newstalk and local stations across Ireland. He has also directed four full length documentary films.



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