Take time for theatre during the 10th Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival. Our programme features a host of special productions and collaborations, involving award-winning writers, directors, companies and performers, as well as events created by communities across Scotland.

Brought to you by acclaimed writer-director team Alan Bissett and Sacha Kyle (The Moira Monologues, The Pure, The Dead and the Brilliant and Ban this Filth!), One Thinks of it All as a Dream is a vivid portrait of Pink Floyd’s original frontman Syd Barrett, one of pop music’s most influential, enigmatic and complex figures. Specially commissioned by the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival, this witty and poignant new production premieres at Glasgow’s Òran Mór, before dates at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, and The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen. Òran Mór is also hosting a 70th birthday tribute – Syd Barrett: Dream & Reality – with archive footage and rarely seen artwork, plus special guests Alan Bissett, Ian Barrett, John Cavanagh and Nicola Meighan.

Aliens will be crash-landing throughout Scotland this October, as Experts in Short Trousers, interactive promenade theatre for children, goes on tour. Created by SMHAFF’s first associate artist Emma Jayne Park (Status Anxiety and #Trans), the show combines live percussion, dancing and play, offering unique opportunities for discovery and exploration. Award-winning theatre company Suit and Pace keeps the spotlight on young people’s mental health and wellbeing, returning  to the festival with their interactive storytelling session Cheering Up the King.

Further theatre highlights include Where the Crow Flies, an intriguing drama based on real interviews and stories from West Lothian women, and Super Awesome World: A Work in Progress, an interactive performance from theatre-maker Amy Conway, which uses video-gaming to explore what it’s like to fight depression. Lorenzo Navani gives a one off performance of his identity-themed Fringe hit Cracked Tiles, Geez A Break Productions presents If I Forget to Remember, telling the heart-breaking story of a family coping with Alzheimer’s Disease, and Shelley O’Brien performs She Wins All the Races, a one-woman show based on her experiences growing up with two brothers born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

We also have two exciting collaborations exploring how mental health can inspire and is represented in the performing arts. Taking up residence at Home Away, held at Glasgow’s Tramway as part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s 10th year celebrations, we present an entire day of discussion and performances, with guests including Jo Clifford, Cora Bissett, Shona Reppe and Pamela Carter. In That Way Madness Lies: Shakespeare and Mental Illness, presented in association with the Dundee Literary Festival, psychotherapist and literary editor Peter Kravitz, theatre critic Joyce McMillan and Professor Mark Robson explore the Bard’s fascination with the subject and how his observations stand up four centuries later.

It’s fitting that the theme for this year’s festival is ‘time’, given the way in which our theatre programme explores mental health across different historical periods and at various stages of life. In addition, many of these events mark significant anniversaries for the individuals and organisations who feature, including our own 10th year celebrations.

We look forward to seeing you at some of these special events taking place across the country during October.

Rob Dickie