SMHAF is delighted to host the world premiere of Living With The Lights On – the film, adapted from Mark Lockyer’s highly acclaimed solo theatre show about his experiences of mental illness.

Directed by Geraldine Williams and performed by Lockyer, the film has been assembled from iPhone footage shot during the lockdown.

The film will be available to watch here for one week only from Mon 8 June. It is free to watch but you can support the festival by buying a pay what you can ticket here.

There will be a Zoom Q&A with Mark Lockyer on Mon 15 Jun, 8.30pm. You can book tickets for the Q&A here

Programme Notes

In Living With The Lights On, Mark Lockyer tells the story of how he met the Devil while performing in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Romeo and Juliet. The experience resulted in a terrifying journey through the medical and criminal justice systems, through prison and hospital and on towards eventual recovery. Living With The Lights On is a testament to the fact that mental illness can happen to anyone and that, with the right treatment, there can be a life beyond it.

The stage version of Living With The Lights On received four and five star reviews following its first performances in 2016. The show - which had its Scottish premiere as part of that year’s SMHAF – was described as ‘a brutally funny account of mental illness’ by the Guardian and ‘riveting’ by the Times.

Mark Lockyer says: “The stage version of Living With The Lights On has no set. If anything I tell the story in a space with a few bits of ‘stuff’ that might be hanging about in the theatre on the day. It’s because ‘the story’ is the only thing that matters. Also it’s just me performing. And so the same is true of the film. I play everyone. All 36 characters if you include the one -liner cameos.

“The beauty of the film is that the madness, colour and surreal nature of my illness can be brought to life visually. I employed the services of artist and maker Geraldine Williams who directed and edited the film. Geraldine brought ideas to the scenes visually I could never have imagined. But in the edit Geraldine was able to weave wonderful magic. We pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved with very little. It is a visual feast. Some scenes are not literal at all. They are deliberately set against ‘reality’ because time and reality didn’t always marry in the depths of my illness.

“We shot it on an iPhone because the aesthetic is beautifully cheap and wonderfully simple and honest. No gimmicks, just like the stage show. Honest, raw, visceral, inventive, imaginative, shocking but above all funny. I laugh at myself endlessly. I have been an actor for many years and have been blessed to have been involved with some great projects but this film for a myriad of reasons is the best piece of work I have ever made. It is beautifully simple and I hope it can inspire others that even on a shoestring ANYTHING is possible if you have the vision and desire. I hope you enjoy it.”

Living With The Lights On – the film will be available to watch from Monday 8 June until Monday 15 June, exclusively at www.mhfestival.com. There will also be a Q&A with Mark Lockyer taking place via Zoom at 8.30pm on Monday 15 June.