The Madness of Andrea Yates

    “The Madness of Andrea Yates” tells the story of the American woman named Andrea Yates who drowned her five children in a bathtub in 2001.  Andrea Yates was a highly successful nurse until she married Russell Yates; their fundamentalist Christian values transformed Andrea to a stay-at-home mom and ultimately formed the structure on which her schizophrenic and psychotic illusions were based.  Yates’s mental illness led her to believe she was infected by the devil, her children were evil, and she must kill them to save their souls.  The stigma of mental illness and poor US health care practices were among the reasons she never received the help she needed.  Yates’s history of mental illness was extremely well-documented, including: two suicide attempts, post-partum depressions and multiple hospitalizations for psychosis, depression and self-mutilation. 
    Using expressionistic techniques, actual interviews, documented confessions and transcripts, critically acclaimed American company Cruel Theatre tells the unfortunate story of Yates’s life, from her marriage to Russell and her first bout with insanity up through her arrest and confession, in their UK debut production.  “The Madness of Andrea Yates” offers the audience insight into the harrowing world of mental illness and explores the “death of reason” in the mind of someone who has had a psychotic break. 
    The majority of us Americans look to healthcare practices in the UK with envy--sick people are not ignored for financial reasons.  However, the proposed budget cuts to the NHS are potentially extremely dangerous--particularly for the mentally ill.  In fact, mental health services could be hit hardest.  A Channel 4 article from 23rd February states, “In total, 6,346 jobs could be at risk across the 53 mental health trusts, with a high proportion of the jobs on the clinical, rather than management, side.  Campaigners said that it was seen as a ‘soft’ cut because often people using mental health services either can not or dare not speak up.”  According to Rethink Mental Illness Chief Executive Paul Jenkins, “This is a devastating blow to the already chronically under-funded services for people with a mental illness… These job losses will impact on services which offer essential support to some of those most vulnerable people in our society... People with mental health problems already get a raw deal when it comes to accessing support from the NHS. Waiting times are longer, staff are over-stretched and provision is patchy and inconsistent. These cuts will make the gaping holes in the system even wider.”   Deborah Woodhouse, co-founder of Asperger’s Children and Carers Together commented,  “You would never cut cancer services, there would be an outcry but cutting mental health services--some people will be suicidal, and they may die.  They shouldn’t be treated in this way.” (  “The Madness of Andrea Yates” is an example of what can happen when severe mental illness remains untreated and patients do not receive the help they need.
    Writer/Director Taurie Kinoshita has been called one of the “most creative directors” in Honolulu, with Cruel Theatre winning the Best Theatre in Honolulu award for Honolulu Weekly, Village Voice, “pick of the week” for their final New York City production, and numerous other pieces of critical acclaim.  David A. Rosenberg of said of the New York City production of “The Madness of Andrea Yates“, “Taurie Kinoshita creates a thrilling, moving piece of theatre… it's a powerful reminder of humanity's inescapable continuum.”


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