Ever since her soul-baring 2010 stage show Losing It, Ruby Wax has been one of the most prominent campaigning voices in the UK when it comes to dispelling taboos around mental health. A lifelong sufferer of depression, she has been as candid as possible about her experiences of living with the illness – hoping that her honest revelations will help others to feel less alone if they too are struggling with a frequently misunderstood condition.
Arriving in Britain from the United States in 1977 to pursue an acting career, Ruby performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company for 5 years. She went on to write and perform in her own hugely popular television programmes for the BBC for over 25 years, and was Script Editor on all series ofAbsolutely Fabulous from 1992-2012. She decided to return to full-time education in 2013 and was awarded a master’s degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy from Oxford University and a Master’s in Psychotherapy from Regent’s College, London where she is also an Honorary Senior Fellow.
Since then, she has published two number-one bestselling books – Sane New World and A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled – and has toured all over the world with the accompanying one-woman shows. She was awarded an OBE for her services to mental health in 2015, been appointed Visiting Professor in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Surrey and was recently announced as the new President of the relationship support charity Relate. She has become a leading speaker on mental health issues including appearances at The Home Office, MI5, Apple, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Merril Lynch, Bank of America, Downing Street, the House of Lords, Google, The Cabinet-Director Generals and TEDGlobal and holds honorary doctorates from the University of East London and Staffordshire University and a life fellowship from City Lit in London in recognition of her work in mental health
Having already explored ways to help us feel more calm and more content, she has now focused her attention on an even bigger question which surrounds our lives: in a world that is increasingly online and beholden to technology, what is it that makes us truly human?
In her new book, How to be Human: The Manual, written with the help of a monk and a neuroscientist she has set about tackling some of the thorniest questions which confront us in increasingly complex, distracting and disquieting times. Ruby will be joined on stage by Professor Tanya Byron – a clinical psychologist who specialises in working with children and adolescents – and together they will discuss How to be Human and everything from evolution to addictions, negative thought patterns, relationship troubles, sex, children, and the future of our species. Sharing hilarious anecdotes from her own life, alongside insight derived from her two expert advisers, this promises to be an exceptional evening of enquiry, pathos and deeply-felt laughter.