Horsham's Alex Rathgeber's mission to keep creatives engaged

Alex Rathgeber has produced a new video series of performances and mental health tips from high-profile Australian artists.
Alex Rathgeber has produced a new video series of performances and mental health tips from high-profile Australian artists.

A former Horsham resident is inviting people to see the unique strain a pandemic places on the performing arts industry this National Mental Health Month.

Through his new venture Maker Productions, Alex Rathgeber will release SOUND MIND throughout October.

The series of six 12-15 minute online episodes will explore mental health and the arts.

Singer Casey Donovan, theatre doyen Nancye Hayes, dancers and choreographers are among the guests.

For Rathgeber, SOUND MIND will be the second experiment offering online entertainment: In May, he helped produce HEART SOUNDS, an online concert streaming on International Nurses Day.

"That aimed to achieve some of what I was concerned about: The mental health of artists not having employment, and not having creative outlets to put all their energy into" he said.

"Off the back of that, I decided to produce something on my own. I wanted to do something that spoke to the state of our industry being completely shut down, and everyone feeling in shock.

"I have been for a while interested in mental health in the industry, and to try to do something to a) draw attention to it and b) somehow contribute to helping it. It was my Mum who said 'If ever there was a time to lean into that, now is it'."

Mr Rathgeber said he hoped to make a second series that focused on arts professionals other than the performers.

"In each episode there is a one-off collaboration with a few different artists that have come together to work on a song," he said.

"They are all quite unique. I've then interviewed each of the artists, which gives insights into their own personal mental wellbeing reflections, and also ways they have coped through this time: Tools and useful tips they may have employed to get through this tricky time."

Three SOUND MIND episodes will be published next week, and another three the week after World Mental Health Day on October 10.

They will be available on The Arts Wellbeing Collective website and Arts Centre Melbourne's YouTube page and on the SOUND MINDFacebook page.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health call: