One day Skye Loneragan had to see a psychiatrist to prove to a BBC commissioning editor that her own father’s schizophrenia, which she had written about in a play, was accurate.

“It’s a very posh office. I don’t think they get many folk in here dripping sea salt all over the place….I seem to be reeking a little and there are bits of family hanging off me. I just caught a reflection of what my hair is doing at the back in the gloss of fireplace marble. There is some kind of seaweed stuck in it, the rubber stalk of it is poking out where my neatly curled ponytail was…”

May Contain Nuts* is a new comedy questioning what drives a need to verify fictional depictions of mental illness as true, and who gets to decide. The research and development of May Contain Nuts (*) is supported by Creative Scotland

“It is born of the time I had to see a psychiatrist to prove to a BBC commissioning editor that my father’s schizophrenia, which I had fictionalised in a play, was considered realistic. At the time, the editor had described the inclusion of this particular mental illness as a ‘hot potato’. If I wanted my play to progress beyond that pitching round, and be selected for broadcast, perhaps I could verify that the illness was an accurate, an authentic one? Perhaps I could provide proof that my father’s illness, fictionalised in a play, was real? So, I found myself seeing a psychiatrist. I asked them to please verify that what they read seemed real, once I had made it up. And to please put that on Letterhead.”

Being shared in-progress as part of the Scottish Mental Health and Arts festival’s Manifesto day, October 4th 2023. This work-in-progress sharing is a joyful provocation rooted in honesty and a desperate attempt to bring people together through the absurd. It is entirely made up… and true.

Creative Scotland
Skye Loneragan
May Contain Nuts (*)

CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts
350 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow G2 3JD

Image by Roddy Simpson