Arts Derbyshire


One-Woman Show Tackling Mental Health with a Playful Defiance

One-Woman Show Tackling Mental Health with a Playful Defiance

Bold, raw, and cynical: Dear Eliza is a one-woman short play interrogating the deterioration of a friendship under the strain of mental illness and the fear of being a burden. In a media culture that either villainises or victimises the mentally ill, Dear Eliza navigates the grey area with guts and defiance. Utilising a masterful blend between heartbreak and humour, this not-to-miss performance strives to redefine our perceptions on what it ‘looks like’ to be mentally ill, whilst showing us the power in saying out loud what we’d all rather keep inside of our heads.

Following a successful short tour of the UK in February and a run at the Brighton Fringe Festival, Dear Eliza comes to the Buxton Fringe Festival this July. Shortlisted for the Best Newcomer award at the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival (2023) and celebrated as a ‘must-watch performance’ (***** – Better Than Words) that is ‘captivating from start to finish’ (****1/2 – A Youngish Perspective). Heralded by audiences and reviewers alike for its nuanced narrative, thought-provoking dialogue, and spectacular solo performance, Dear Eliza delivers a theatrical experience that is relevant and pertinent to everyone. Due to strong language, and discussions of mental illness and suicide, this show is recommended for ages 16+.

Writer and performer Barbara Diesel brings her debut play to life in collaboration with director Helen Parry, best known for her work on On Me by Caroline Lamb (Off West End Award winner) and The Day the World Came to Huddersfield by Stephen Hornby (Best Drama Award winner; QueerLit Best LGBTQ+ Production winner). Diesel and Parry are thrilled to be bringing Dear Eliza to the Brighton Fringe Festival, with Diesel stating: “This is a story that doesn’t end when the audience leaves the theatre. We’ve had audiences sharing their own stories back, or returning the night after with family and friends, telling them ‘you need to watch this’ – that is a truly special feeling. We can’t wait to get to share Dear Eliza at a festival as exciting and vibrant as the Buxton Fringe Festival.”

Dear Eliza comes to Underground at The Springs on Friday 5th July at 5.30pm; Tue 9th July at 2.30pm; Tuesday 16th July at 4pm. Tickets are £7-10 (concessions available). The production is also proud to be raising money for the mental health charity, Mind, alongside performances.

You can keep up to date on social media, with the handle @dearelizaplay on Instagram, Facebook, and X, or on the production website: Get in touch with the team by sending an email to


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