The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival’s online programme is now live. In the opening week, we are thrilled to present Hysteria!, Julia Taudevin’s darkly comic political cabaret from SMHAF 2017, a short film programme themed around Self-Isolation, and dance and visual arts from our regional networks.
SMHAF 2020: Online Programme
We will be putting out new content on our website and Vimeo page every Monday at 12pm and this will be available to view until the same time the following week. New content will include a theatre show and a film programme, both available for one week only. There will also be a conversation based on our film screenings taking place on Thursday evenings, additional events each week - including Eat. Move. Sleep. Repeat. coming soon - and some special announcements later this month.
To ensure our online programme is accessible to all, everything will be free to view directly through our website – visit mhfestival.com/whats-on-2020. We will also have pay what you can tickets available for all our film and theatre events, so, if you are able to, please use these to support the festival.
We would also be grateful if you can leave your email address to help us measure the impact of our online programme – it will really help us to work towards developing more accessible online content in the future alongside our usual live programme.
First up in theatre is Hysteria!, a political cabaret from SMHAF 2017. Hysteria! was, arguably, the first theatre show of the #MeToo movement, partly inspired by the 2016 US election and the 2017 global women’s marches. The show was developed through Julia Taudevin’s work with the Mental Health Foundation on a project exploring the impact of sexism on women’s mental health, which saw over 100 women interviewed individually and in groups. These conversations were the starting point for Hysteria!, a cabaret-style show that combined sharply satirical songs and sketches with dialogue taken verbatim from those interviews.
Julia writes: “I am 100% confident that connecting with so many incredible survivors through the research process and navigating that research as a writer was key to me coming out the other side of an extraordinary moment in my life a stronger, happier and healthier person. I am absolutely delighted that audiences can once again enjoy the wild and wonderful political cabaret that we made.”
Our film programme opens with a pair of experimental short films that resonate deeply with the challenges we are facing in our newly transformed world. Focusing on the mental health problems caused by uncertainty and isolation, these films are connected by two protagonists who are attempting, in different ways, to shield themselves from existential challenges created by circumstances outside their control.
Solastalgia, directed by SMHAF 2019 award-winner Millefiore Clarkes, and Knock, Knock, Knock, from Korean director Arom Choi, will be available for viewing all week. There will be an opportunity to join us for an informal conversation on Zoom at 8.30pm on Thursday 7 May to talk about the issues these films raise and the things we are finding solace in during this time of uncertainty and isolation.
Conversations or Q&A are planned to take place on Thursday evenings throughout the festival. Check our listings for the latest updates. To make them accessible to D/deaf and hard of hearing audiences, all films screened online will be subtitled.
Exhibitions are always a big part of our programme, and a huge amount of work goes into producing artworks for SMHAF each year. To celebrate this work – and create an opportunity for it to be seen by wider audiences – we have created an online exhibition called SMHAF at Home that will be developed in the coming weeks in collaboration with the SMHAF community.
The first artworks to go on display are from a solo exhibition by Edinburgh-based artist Jamie King titled The Mind of Celebrity. He has painted portraits of celebrities who are known to have experienced mental health issues, using photographs as a reference. It was due to be shown at Edinburgh Palette this May and we are delighted to share it here.
Julia James-Griffiths, a dance artist based in Edinburgh, will be leading movement sessions that focus on supporting mental health and wellbeing every Tuesday at 12pm during lockdown. Starting tomorrow, the 30-minute Mind to Move class involves breathing and relaxation exercises and movement improvisation, and are open to all.
The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival is led by the Mental Health Foundation.