For a long time, I’ve seen my closest friends battle with mental illnesses. I knew that they felt alone and misunderstood. One of my friends has schizophrenia, and this makes it incredibly hard for him to communicate with people he’s not comfortable with.

I first got the inspiration for “Walking In Between” in November, after I started writing songs for him and some of my other friends. I was inspired by their courage and individuality, and I began to try to create a story that would shed light on their situation. I had noticed that in the media, certain conditions had been overlooked or misrepresented, particularly schizophrenia. It was this realization that inspired me to create the main character, “Liam Donovan”.

It was about this time that the theatre director at our school convinced me to apply for the Texas Thespians Musicalworks Competition. After the opening number won the competition, we were able to perform it in front of several people, mostly teenagers. When I saw the emotional response to the story’s honest message, I knew that I needed to write the whole thing. Now, we’re trying to get the word out about this story, so that we can perform it and allow everyone to see that the stigmas around mental illness are ill-founded and false. We hope that this musical will inspire people to be more embracing and open-minded.

Liam’s story is, above all else, meant to inspire all generations to see people with mental illness in a new light. In the past, people with diseases like schizophrenia have frequently been portrayed as horrifying or miserable characters who constantly suffer from raging psychotic episodes, leaving them in a hopeless state of insanity for the rest of their lives. However, in “Walking In Between”, Liam sees his delusions as a gift. In his mind, the fantasies that occupy his reality are sources of encouragement that allow him to find a profound, deeper meaning in life. Thus, the message of this musical, told through authentic singer-songwriter music, is that no amount of delusions, defenses, or even bouts of insanity can blind us to the greater truth of life. That “to live without love is to not live at all.”

Learn more about Walking In Between on Instagram at @walking_in_between

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