4th October 2017

BEDLAM Arts & Mental Health Festival, Tues 17 – Sat 28 Oct 2017

The healing power of the arts come under the spotlight at Bedlam – Birmingham’s third arts & mental health festival, Tues 18 – Sat 28 October.

A festival in Birmingham is aiming to raise awareness and get people thinking and talking about mental health through the arts. The BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival takes place from Tuesday 17–Saturday 28 October 2017 in arts venues and mental health settings across the city. Shaped by people who have experienced mental ill health, the festival celebrates arts and well-being.

To mark the third BEDLAM Festival, as well as Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, organisers welcome on board new partners mac Birmingham and Sampad South Asian Arts who have worked with artists to create and present new diverse theatre, dance and visual art.

Helping to mark World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the three week Festival features celebrated performance poet, Lemn Sissay, performing his one-man play, Something Dark (24 October, mac Birmingham); Kahaani (Story) (27 October, mac Birmingham) will bring to life stories of ageing, loss and friendship; Birmingham actress, Olivia Winteringham looks at love and grief and how the state of our minds can affect how we remember our past in Delightful (26 & 27 October, Birmingham Repertory Theatre). And, a Wellbeing Discovery Day (Sunday 22 October, Birmingham Repertory Theatre) for all ages will offer yoga, meditation, tai chi and a range of mindfulness activities.

Festival organiser, Steve Ball, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre said:

“Evidence shows that the arts can have a positive impact on well-being yet there have been too few opportunities for people affected by mental ill health to engage with the arts. We hope that this festival will change that. Our inaugural festival in 2013 attracted 1,650 participants and audience members and increased to 2,408 in 2015. With the addition of new partners and venues the 2017 festival promises to be bigger than ever.”

Lakhvir Rellon, Director of Community Engagement, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust adds:

“One in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year and at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust we cared for 65,000 service users in 2016/17. BEDLAM provides a creative insight into our mental health and it is recognised that the arts can contribute to recovery and wellbeing. We hope this festival will encourage people to speak about mental health and also to seek help at an early stage.”

As well as arts performances and workshops BEDLAM hosts Arts & Wellbeing a half-day symposium examining the use of arts in wellbeing and mental health. Plus Mental Health First Aid Lite offers an introduction to mental health issues for the public. Both will be held on Friday 27 October. Further information www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival takes place Saturday 17–Saturday 28 October 2017. Further details are available from birmingham-rep.co.uk or 0121 236 4455


4 Oct 2017

MEDIA CONTACT: Mandy Rose, M Seven Public Relations
E: mandyrose@msevenpublicrelations.co.uk M: 07454 365421

Note to Editors

  • More than one in four people will have a panic attack at some point in their lives.
  • In 2010, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK
  • Eating disorders are estimated to affect between 600,000 and 725,000 people in the UK
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that around one million in the UK experience OCD.

Listings Information

BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival
Tuesday 17 – Saturday 28 October 2017

Sarah Taylor Silverwood: Broadcast
Sat 7 Oct – Sun 29 Oct
Community Gallery, mac Birmingham, Free

mac Birmingham has commissioned artist Sarah Taylor Silverwood to create new work in partnership with mental health staff and service users. Broadcast relates to the wider themes around advertising, public service announcements, language and signs. These themes are the backdrop to the new work, which explores using language and image to convey hidden or lost messages in a public facing way.

Autin Dance Theatre: A Positive Life
Tue 17 Oct, 1pm and 7.30pm
Theatre, mac Birmingham £10/£9, 11+

A Positive Life is an immersive theatre experience inspired by the individual journeys of five characters around sex, love and relationships. Featuring dance, physical theatre and spoken word, the original scenography of the piece and the elements of audience interactions will move you and transport you to the heart of the story. Originally aimed at teenagers and young adults, the work delivers an uplifting and engaging message on self-love, sexual health and sex ed’ stories that can be enjoyed by all!

Autin Dance Theatre is a project-based professional company established in Birmingham since 2013, Directed by Johnny Autin and Producer Kirsten Jeavons.

20 Stories High: Headz
Thu 19 Oct, 7.30pm
Hexagon Theatre, mac Birmingham £5/£3, 13+

Inside every HEAD lies a secret, a story waiting to unravel… 20 Stories High Young Actors Company offers insight into the lives of Liverpool’s young people with HEADZ: a series of gritty, challenging and humorous contemporary urban monologues that don’t pull any punches.

Small Nose Productions: I Had A Black Dog’…His Name Was Depression
Thu 19 Oct, 8pm
The DOOR, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, £10

A fun filled, beautifully dark, comic story of survival. Boy falls in love with girl, girl falls in love with boy. They begin a journey together. But Joe also has a relationship with someone else. A ‘Black Dog’. The dog just keeps turning up. It’s getting bigger and bigger. It’s taking over. It’s ruining Joe’s other relationship with the lady he loves, family, and friends and with life itself. And as Joe fights to keep his happiness, so the story unfolds….and so it goes. Black Dog is a recognizable story for everyone.

The play is based on the book with the same written title and illustrated by Matthew Johnstone. The book was famously endorsed by Stephen Fry and has been seen online in its viral format by over 10 million people.

Stereo Hype 2017 presents a screening of
From Noya
Friday 20 October, 6.30pm
Hexagon Theatre, mac Birmingham £5 (£3)

Noya suffers with depression and has been battling with feelings of hatred towards her younger foster sister for a very long time. She also blames herself for the untimely death of their parents. As Noya finds herself on the verge of ending it all, her life is put into perspective on the night of her sister’s engagement dinner. She realises that she can no longer run from the fact that she needs help. From Noya is an award-winning film by Rites of Passage – a chilling and powerful tale about a troubled soul whose fight to overcome her mental health issues becomes a matter of life or death.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A, hosted by Professor Robert Beckford, with the director, lead actress and a panel of leading specialists within the Mental Health field. Special performance on the day by Jade Laurie- Hart, the creator of the mental health blog’a Diary from Noone’ and other local performers.

Brigitte Aphrodite My Beautiful Black Dog
Fri 20 Oct, 8pm
The DOOR, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, £10
Gig meets theatre meets tidal wave of glitter.

A poetically wild musical exploring the difficult and beauteous complexity of our fragile minds. Depression is at its heart, but it’s not depressing – it’s joyous, funny and hopeful.

This electrifying show challenges the urgent stigma around mental health and encourages the audience to take ownership over their own black dogs whilst channelling infectious dance moves, swagger-boss costumes and banging tunes!

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery presents State of the Mind: a guided tour of art and mental health
Sat 21 Oct, 1pm & Sat 28 Oct, 1pm, £3
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, meet in Round Room
Advance booking available by calling 0121 348 8263 or online at www.birminghammuseumsorg.uk

As well as a tool for social and political comment, art frequently reflects the mental wellbeing of the artist, either consciously or unconsciously. This fascinating walk and tour through the galleries and through the ages, looks at the impact of mental health on art and the way it is received, from the Renaissance through to Victorian artists, and the way in which art has reflected a response to war in the twentieth century.

Playing ON present: Hearing Things
Sat 21 Oct, 3pm, Cube in the Square, Central Square/Precinct, off High Street Erdington – Pay as you think – Presented in association with Café Arts
Sat 21 Oct, 8pm
The DOOR, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, £10

Hearing Things explores the dilemmas of psychiatry from the points of view of patients, relatives and staff. Based on experiences of psychiatrists and patients, the ‘healthy’ and the ‘ill’, looking at how and if people heal and recover inside institutions.

Created using a unique collaborative process between patients, psychiatrists and mental health staff, Playing ON have drawn together the stories of those receiving and providing mental health care. Hearing Things is the result of that work – a process which has instigated real change in the lives of patients.

BEDLAM Wellbeing Discovery Day
Sun 22 Oct, 11am – 4pm
Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Mostly Free

Join us at the Wellbeing Discovery Day for a range of performances, including scratch & rehearsed readings, family friendly activities and a marketplace where you can meet and talk to organisations working in the mental health field. Tutors from mac will be offering free participatory workshops including yoga and mindfulness activities.

Performances during the Discovery Day cost £5 (all day ticket for The DOOR, Birmingham Repertory Theatre) and include:

12 noon Fierce presents Louisa Robbins

How do you distract yourself from negative thoughts? Herbal tea, meditation, booze, bubble baths? Louisa shares her musings away from the therapist’s chair. Watch as she tries to cope, to care and not to disappear.

Louisa Robbins is a live artist and writer, a sad girl who projects her feelings on to glitter and gold and a queer black British (African) woman who is forever ticking boxes. Passionate about the alternative, the untraditional and the awkward; Louisa is intent on making art that explores the beauty in ritual, intimacy and the self (self-care, self-harm, self-esteem).

1pm Outspoken present Hyped

An interactive, digital, grime performance about issues of mental health for young people aged 13-18 years. Outspoken are the resident company of emerging artists based at Artrix arts centre, making new work for and with young people around issues of health and wellbeing. This project is in partnership with Birmingham City University, The Strong Young Minds Project and Open Door Youth Counselling Services.

2pm Women & Theatre present STUFF

Developed from research and written & performed by Janice Connolly, this scratch performance of STUFF promises to be an interactive and uplifting show that accurately reflects the experiences of people who identify as hoarders.

3pm – The Boy Only We See. Written and Directed by Sam Holley-Horseman
A script in hand rehearsed reading. (Extract 20mins and discussion).

“And the guilt seeped back in like an all-consuming fog.
It took weeks to filter some of it away and see my beautiful boy again.
And yet some of that fog will now always remain. It will always feel my fault.”

The play explores the incredible daily battle parents face to gain diagnosis, recognition and support for their child with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), a less recognised Autism Spectrum Disorder.

(General listings information continued)

Fierce present Demi Nandra
I’m Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired
Sun 22 Oct, 3pm – 7pm, Eastside Jazz Club, Birmingham Conservatoire, FREE

What if the depression we endure is not just about biochemical disfunction, but the result of political failure?

Ann Cvetkovich suggests we have incomplete projects of liberation and Demi tends to agree; decolonisation, feminism, civil rights. We have the wounds of incomplete projects but what if the wounds need cleaning? Maybe the wound needs to see the light?

I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired examines historical traumas in the everyday felt sensations of our lives, the energy it has taken to survive, endure, resist and have hope against it all.

Half Moon Theatre: The Girl And The Giraffe
Tue 24 – Thu 26 Oct, 11am & 2pm
Foyle Studio, mac Birmingham, £9 / £7 (£2 Babes in Arms)

One day whilst Girl is playing in her garden, she spots something peculiar on the other side of the fence. Climbing up as high as she can to get a better view, she is surprised when she comes face to face with… Giraffe!

As their friendship grows, Girl discovers that Giraffe isn’t very well. She tries everything she can to make him feel a bit better; putting on bandages, making a cup of tea, and even baking a truly magnificent cake, but she doesn’t get it quite right. Girl soon realises that Giraffe doesn’t need a plaster for a graze on his arm or a scratch on his knee. Giraffe is sad. Sometimes we need a different kind of plaster for the things you can’t always see.

Charming puppetry, an enchanting soundscape and beautiful storytelling combine in this sensitive show about wellbeing and friendship, told from a child’s perspective. Suitable for ages 3-6.

Lemn Sissay – Something Dark
Tue 24 Oct, 8pm
Theatre, mac Birmingham, £15 (£13.50)

A rare chance to see a dramatic reading of the acclaimed one-man play by celebrated performance poet, Lemn Sissay.

Something Dark tells the story of Lemn Sissay’s upbringing in children’s homes and foster care, and the search for his family and true-identity. Originally directed by John McGrath (National Theatre of Wales), Something Dark has been performed throughout the world to great critical acclaim. It was adapted for BBC Radio 3 in 2005, and the following Q&A sessions have become legendary.

It’s an extraordinary true story, told by a masterful performer.

By Olivia Winteringham
Thu 26 – Fri 27 Oct, 8pm, Sat 28 Oct, 2pm and 8pm
The DOOR, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, £10

Jay is dead. His partner Lenni is desperately trying to remember what caused the accident. Her memory hasn’t been so reliable lately but with the help of the little girl next door, she’s certain she will be able to figure it out.

As Lenni delves deeper into her memories though, her certainty is shaken. Soon she begins to question what is real and who she can trust.

With a sound design that places the audience at the centre of Lenni’s experience, Delightful is a frank exploration of love grief and how the state of our minds can affect how we remember our past.

Sampad presents
Kahaani (Story)
Fri 27 Oct, 2pm and 8pm
Foyle Studio, mac Birmingham. Tickets £5 (£3 concessions)

Kahaani (meaning ‘story’ in Hindi) is a special performance that features a group of characters telling stories about life as we all experience it at various times.

Set in a busy, modern-day hospital care unit in Birmingham, four strangers from all over world meet and share their experiences.

As they open up to each other, fragments of their personal memories come vividly to life through music, dance, poetry and storytelling. Their stories reflect universal human emotions such as love, anger, humour and sorrow while touching on mental health and well-being.

Appearing alongside the artists is Jasvir Kang, a well-known poet from the West Midlands who is now living with vascular dementia. Jasvir will share her much-admired poems My Mother’s Sari and Old Age as part of the performance.

Everyone is welcome to come along and join in…or you can simply just sit and enjoy the show in your own way. There will also be a chance to take part in a question and answer session with the directors and artists after the show.

Creative Team: Daz Dolczech, Jaya Khazaei, Manuela Benini, Mohinder Singh (Mendi) Co-Directors: Piali Ray and Paven Virk
Poetry: Jasvir Kang


Birmingham Repertory Theatre
0121 236 4455 / birmingham-rep.co.uk

mac Birmingham
0121 446 3232 / macbirmingham.co.uk

Eastside Jazz Club, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire