This year, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival has over 300 events taking place in 13 regions across Scotland from 10-29 October. In the build-up to the festival, we will be offering a series of regional highlights, helping you keep track of what’s happening near you. Here is our pick of events taking place in Edinburgh & Lothian.
Mark Lockyer’s hilarious, touching and critically acclaimed solo show Living With The Lights On makes its Scottish debut at the Scottish Storytelling Centre (17–19 Oct), before travelling to the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. Mark shares the true story of how his life fell apart following an on-stage meltdown during a 1995 RSC production of Romeo & Juliet, paying testament to the fact that mental illness can happen to anyone, and with the right treatment, there can be a life beyond it.
Written by Mariem Omari, One Mississippi (10–12 Oct) is a new and hard-hitting verbatim play, exploring how childhood experiences shape men’s adult lives. Blending humour and storytelling with powerful elements of physical theatre, it has three nights at the Traverse Theatre, before travelling to the Tron Theatre in Glasgow. Hysteria! (17–21 Oct), Julia Taudevin’s darkly comic political cabaret is also showing at the Traverse Theatre, following its premiere at Glasgow’s Òran Mór. Written in dialogue with over 100 people, the show was partly developed through a research project with the Mental Health Foundation, exploring the impact of sexism on mental health.
Part of our commitment to fostering new work exploring mental health, 5 Ways to Begin (Wed 18 Oct) presents works in progress from five artists across multiple performance disciplines, giving audiences an insight into emerging talent and inviting you to share your thoughts. Flint & Pitch (Fri 20 Oct) curate a night of poetry, song and more at the Bongo Club, bringing together five diverse acts, including Janice Galloway, Vonny Leclerc and Marc Rooney, to creatively respond to the theme Reclaim This Script. And for the fifth year running, Edinburgh Carers Council present their concert Music Matters (Thu 26 Oct), which this year features Adam Stafford, The Eastern Swell and Jonathan Pennington-Twist, plus a DJ set from Jeremy Thoms (The Cathode Ray).
Storytelling is a prominent theme at SMHAF 2017, so it’s no surprise that there’s plenty more happening at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Real Talk: Storytelling for Wellbeing (Sat 14 Oct) returns, creating a safe space to talk about one of our most beautiful assets, our minds, and storytellers Kate Craik and Michael Williams lead Café Voices (Thu 12 Oct), an evening of stories in the relaxed surroundings of the Storytelling Court. And SSC have teamed up with the Scottish Poetry Library and Veterans First Point to present Six O’clock in Princes Street (Thu 19 Oct), a very special evening of poetry, music and spoken word exploring the First World War, in the iconic setting of Edinburgh Castle’s Great Hall.
Finally, Edinburgh & Lothian have an extensive visual arts programme, including the stunning collaborative exhibition Out of Sight, Out of Mind. Held at Summerhall (11–29 Oct) and venues across Edinburgh, it features over 100 artworks in various media, created by people and groups who are using the arts to express themselves in relation to their experiences of mental health issues. Outlook Project host a number of exhibitions, including Constructed Voices (10–29 Oct) and Shifting Sands (10–29 Oct), and Inspiring Life (Fri 20 & Sat 21 Oct) is an afternoon with an exhibition, film screening and Depressed Cake Shop and Café.
We hope you can make it to some of these events in Edinburgh & Lothian, and encourage you to explore the full programme to discover everything that is taking place.