With ‘power’ as our central theme, this year’s theatre programme is our most hard-hitting yet with theatre, comedy and dance tackling a range of issues; from the disempowering force of dementia, addiction and isolation and the dangers of social media, to the power dynamics inherent in different relationships and explorations of the ‘self’.

Our theatre programme reaches all corners of the country offering a chance to experience the power of theatre to start conversations, raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental ill health. Emma Jayne Park is back and touring throughout the country with her show Status Anxiety & Thinking in the First Person, a visceral hip hop theatre performance exploring who we become when hidden behind a computer screen.

The festival sees the return of some fantastic partnerships and performances. Building on lasts year’s partnership with Luminate, we have joined forces to present a week-long run of Vanishing Point’s Tomorrow in Glasgow’s Tramway, a thought-provoking piece on growing old, living with dementia, needing care and needing to care, as well as a regional tour of McNamara’s, Let Me Stay, a tender and unique exploration of the impact of Alzheimer’s on family relations. Following a very successful show last year, the superb vacuum cleaner returns with a new piece, The Assessment, co-commissioned with Anxiety Arts Festival. In this piece he challenges the mental health assessment process in a humorous, thought-provoking way.

This year’s festival is also full of new exciting shows such as Ismael Velasco’s one man play, The Life and Nearly Death of Riley who will visit Orkney and Shetland and Resilience: Legislative Theatre, radical, participatory theatre giving power back to the people of Edinburgh to propose and debate new ideas for legislation around mental health and wellbeing, before proposing them the City of Edinburgh Council for consideration.

If that isn’t enough we also have award-winning, Juliette Burton’s docu-comedy Look at Me which challenges beauty, myth and self-perception; Enda Walsh’s provocative drama, Chatroom which tackles the issue of mental health on the online world; and Drew Taylor’s Howl[ing] presented at Edinburgh’s Traverse and at The Arches in Glasgow, in association with Glasgay!

We look forward to seeing you at some of these events across the country.