A CONCERT promoter who has stage managed the Bay City Rollers, then suffered PTSD after an army tour, is bringing his insights into the condition to Edinburgh this month.

Trace Dann’s talks on his trauma and recovery have attracted so much interest he has turned them into a play which will have its premiere at the Festival Fringe.

“I have had people come up to me after talks and say it changed their lives,” he told The National. “They are having a big impact and I thought if I could turn them into a play I might be able to reach more people.

“It is not just for people suffering from anxiety and depression but for their family and friends. They may think their loved one is ignoring them but we just can’t process the love and friendship and support they are giving us so we push it aside. It’s not deliberate but part of the condition.”

An Australian, Dann has visited Scotland before, notably when he stage managed the Bay City Rollers, Middle of the Road, Sweet, 10cc and Alvin Stardust at charity concerts in Glasgow. As well as being involved in the music business, he has been a rally navigator and produced the weekly Australian Country Showcase TV show for Sky. When he was a young man he joined the Australian army and went into IT management after he left. He began helping out at charity concerts in his spare time and was then asked if he would organise rock concerts for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I saw the army job as a challenge and a chance to further my skills by organising and running concert tours,” he said. “I had to design the show, source the acts and organise the logistics and accommodation.”

For nearly three years, Dann entertained the troops with Australian musicians like Kevin Bloody Wilson, the Screaming Jets and the Angels, but his tours in the war zones triggered PTSD. The symptoms began gradually after he had left the army and gone back into the business world but built up until he broke down.

“It got to the stage where I resigned from the corporate job I was doing in parallel to my entertainment business and then the whole entertainment world fell apart because of my anger and inability to understand that people could not work as quickly as I wanted them to,” said Dann.

One of the hardest things he has ever done, he said, was to ask for help.

“I was a successful corporate guy, running an international entertainment business and to turn round and say to someone that I needed help was a significant thing to do. Anyone would find that difficult and that is why a lot of people don’t do it.”

After he made the decision to seek help, Dann’s mental health began to improve rapidly. “My psychologist and psychiatrist said they have never seen anyone turn around so quickly but maybe they’ve never met anyone as pig headed as me,” he said. “I set my mind to try to get better.”

It was during his recovery that he began to write a blog. “I used to wake up at 2.30am and lie there trying to get back to sleep so I began writing down my thoughts instead of trying not to think them,” he said.

People started to read the blogs and suggested he should give some talks. Dann thought he would give it a go and found there was a ready audience. “They were amazed because you don’t usually get people talking about what happened to them and how they handled it,” he said.

After he wrote the play, Getting Better, he thought he would bring it to Edinburgh first. “If you are going to start doing a play then why not do it at the biggest festival in world? ” he said. Getting Better includes music, some light humour and, of course, pathos as you see my fall into the pit in all its glory, before sharing my fight to start living again.”

Getting Better is at The Royal Scots Club from tomorrow night (Tuesday) until August 10 at 1:30pm.