Declaration, a new play coming to Stockton in May, challenges stereotypes with a curious, comic and candid look at ADHD, mental health and diagnosis in the 21st Century

DECLARATION, a new play coming to a number of North-East venues in May, is set to stereotypes with a curious, comic and candid look at ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), mental health and diagnosis in the 21st Century

Instinctive, curious, bold and bouncy, Sarah is a mighty proud square peg which wouldn’t be such a problem if the hole wasn’t so damn round. Her childhood doctor thought it was sugar. Her current doctor thinks its ADHD. Sarah still feels different, so what will a label do? Will it change the way you see her and the way she sees herself?

With autobiographical storytelling, comedy, and conversations with audiences, Declaration - which was developed in consultation with medical professionals, ADHD and mental health support groups - takes the audience on a vibrant and daring adventure that asks them to roll around in their weirdness, make a hat out of it and dance.

Writer and performer Sarah Emmott says: "I’ve always felt different, but never wrong. The older I got, the harder it became to juggle everything and I wasn’t coping as well as I was pretending to. I’ve known a lot of people who have battled with their mental health; you never know what happens behind closed doors, so I want to open mine, invite you in with a warm welcome and declare that I’m not ok, with hope that we might be able to talk about it together.

Diagnosis of adult ADHD isn’t straight forward and Sarah discovered that you often need to be living in the extremities of the condition to receive any sort of support. This production seeks to show that adult diagnosis can be complex, frustrating and isolating, exploring how it changes the way people are viewed by society and the relief and grief that comes with it.

Declaration also seeks to challenge the mainstream media image of ADHD – ADHD isn’t just a ‘naughty child’ tearing round a supermarket, it can be a 31-year-old woman trying desperately to get it together and get to work on time. Declaration follows Sarah’s journey from childhood to present day, offering a rare insight into how ADHD impacts at different stages of a person’s life.

Sarah was shortlisted for Best Actress in a Studio Production at the Manchester Theatre Awards for her performance in Declaration.

The production is presented in partnership with the ADHD Foundation – who work to improve emotional well-being, educational attainment, behaviour and life chances through better understanding and self-management of ADHD, ASD and related learning difficulties.

Declaration has been developed with The Lowry. Touring In Association with Oldham Library and the ADHD Foundation. Funded by Arts Council England. Supported by The Granada Foundation, Action Oldham, NHS City Health Care Partnership Foundation, Fowler Smith & Jones Trust.

Tickets are available from individual theatre box office or

  • May 16 Saltburn Community Hall, 7.30pm.
  • May 17 Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre, 7pm.
  • May 19 The Witham, Barnard Castle, 7.30pm.
  • May 23 Alnwick Playhouse, 7.30pm.
  • May 24 Stockton ARC, 7pm.
  • June10 Harrogate Theatre, 7.45pm.
  • June 28 Bishop Auckland Town Hall, 7.30pm.
  • June 29 Washington Arts Centre, 7.30pm.