During the course of a year, the Never Better project team worked with transcribers, directors, producers, actors, musicians, architects, a community gatherer and a community choir to develop a creative response to historic and contemporary narratives. The historic dimension was informed by unusually rich mental health collections held at Gloucestershire Archives. Patient case notes from Victorian and Edwardian asylums were transcribed by 12 trained project volunteers, recruited and supervised by the Community Heritage Development Manager Sally Middleton, who represented Gloucestershire Archives on the project team. The transcripts were sent to a professional writer/director as raw material for a drama based on the unheard voices of former asylum inmates. To set alongside these historic accounts, a paid community gatherer recorded interviews with 12 Gloucestershire people who had lived experience of mental health issues. These are permanently preserved in Gloucestershire Archives.
The final piece also included site-specific installations and specially commissioned music. These various elements combined powerfully to tell the story of mental health in Gloucestershire over the last 150 years.