Borderline: Personal experience of borderline personality disorder explored in Perth performance by Evelyn Snook

Evelyn Snook knows what it is like to be a young person diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and the stigma that comes with the mental health challenge.

The WAAPA-graduate only wishes there was a theatre experience like their production Borderline that they could have turned to at the time.

“There wasn’t really any stories about BPD from their perspective, and stories that had hope and something to look forward to,” writer and performer Snook, of Warwick, said.

“I was inspired to share my story as someone who has really struggled, and still struggles sometimes, but I have found a way to get on with things for a functional life. I was inspired to tell a story my younger self would have needed.”

The 24-year-old’s journey with Borderline started in their final year at WAAPA as a 10-minute version that evolved into 2019 Fringe World show Dancing in the Driveway, filled with poetry, puppetry and dance breaks.

The Blue Room Theatre season of Borderline has not only seen the now full-length work— accompanied by folk singer-songwriter Be Gosper — given a theatrical makeover, including lighting and projections, but the piece has grown and changed along with Snook.

Especially after sitting with it longer than anticipated when the 2020 season was postponed due to the pandemic.

“It’s still a story of my lived experience with borderline personality disorder,” Snook said.

“There have been some challenging moments, but I have a wonderful team where everyone around me is so supportive. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without feeling as safe as I do in the rehearsal space.”

Borderline is the second performance presented by Stumble, a collective of Perth-based performance makers led by Snook, which formed in 2018 bringing together artists and creators living with mental health disorders to tell their stories while promoting mental health awareness, queer representation and innovative contemporary theatre.

Snook is currently studying a Masters of Social Work at UWA, a future study plan that was expedited by the COVID-induced lull in theatre making last year.

“It’s worked out well this year with uni break happening right around when the show is on,” they said.

“I hope my story is useful, whether it’s because they’ve gone through similar experiences or know someone who has.

“Or even if they don’t have any kind of connection to it and it just challenges some of the myths and stigma that’s out there.”

Borderline is at The Blue Room Theatre until July 31.

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