“New Year, new me”; it’s the phrase on everyone’s lips, whether sincere or ironic, inspiring or infuriating. It’s a phrase that instils both wonderful hope but also intimidating pressure – how must I change? What new projects must I start? How shall I make this the best year yet?

The concept of a fresh start should, so we are told, fill us with new-found energy and, in the context of theatre-making, bring about a creative boost, whether that be writing, rehearsing or programming for the year ahead. Yet, for many the New Year is often characterised by panic, rather than anticipation and the weight of expectation hinders rather helps creative productivity and well-being. Thus January becomes a time when many are trying to drag themselves out of creative ruts and find meaningful ways to start their year and channel any panic and listlessness into something productive.

DST Charity Fashion Show

This is where Durham Student Theatre’s Charity Fashion Show, to be held in the Assembly Rooms on Sunday 19th January, comes into its own. The show is hosted by DST’s ‘Well-Being at Centre Stage’ campaign, which itself was set up to aid students struggling with expectations and pressures that arise at this time and throughout the year. By encouraging creativity, expression and a healthy dose of the ridiculous, the show is the perfect example of conquering January blues and the fear of New Year.

DST are also donating all profits from tickets sales to suicide prevention charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK and the cause of 18 deaths a day. During the harsh winter months and after the enforced jollity of Christmas, suicide rates have, in fact, peaked in the last 5 years in January and February. To confront these terrible statistics, CALM runs a free confidential helpline (0808 802 58 58) and webchat from 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, provides support to those dealing with suicide bereavement and regularly campaigns with media partners, brands and ambassadors to spread awareness.

The DST Charity Fashion Show is, no doubt, a fantastic and productive way to kick start the New Year and to tackle that impending January doubt about how best to use this fresh start. Indeed, there is surely nothing but good to be gained from having a laugh with friends and supporting a vital cause all in one evening.

Tickets available here.

By Elvira Parr