With the awareness of mental health issues on the rise, and the popular use of the arts as a vehicle for change, many events such as ‘Music 4 Mental Health’ have aimed to create an open discussion regarding mental health, to help combat the current taboos in society. Right at the forefront of this movement is the Liverpool Mental Health Festival which will return to the city for another year from 10th – 14th October. As always, the organisers, Liverpool Mental Health Consortium, have lined up a whole host of new and exciting events across the five days.
Reflecting the Consortium’s partnership approach across mental health, the arts and other Merseyside events, the 2018 festival focuses on connecting communities, the arts, and mental wellbeing, whilst showcasing artists from Liverpool and beyond. This year, the Consortium have also been working with Liverpool FC and Spirit of Shankly to raise awareness of mental distress and suicide among match-goers and fans; a partnership reflected in the Film Night programme.
Merseyside musician Bill Ryder-Jones remains as Festival Patron for the third year. The Consortium said, “Bill is a brilliant spokesperson for mental health as well an immensely talented songwriter/composer, instrumentalist, singer and producer and we’re delighted that he is the Festival’s Patron”
The Opening Night at The Music Room (10th October), will be hosted by avant-garde performance artist, David Hoyle, and is set to offer a packed programme with a stellar line-up. It will feature acts representing every other Liverpool festival that the Consortium has worked with throughout this year, with performers including Nachda Sansaar, Auntie Climax, Liverpool Comhaltas, the Bolger School of Irish Dancing and many more performers from a broad spectrum of contemporary art .With such a great line-up, the event was fully booked very quickly, so if you’re wanting to attend you should check for available places on the day of the show.
Now in its fifth year, the Festival’s art exhibition will be launched on 11th October at The Brink. This year, artists have responded to the theme ‘The Art of Falling Apart’. The exhibition also includes newly-commissioned work created by Irish traveller women, ‘It’s the Travelling Life’, in partnership with Liverpool Irish Festival, Irish Community Care Merseyside, & internationally acclaimed photographer, Jona Frank.
Feelgood Friday, taking place at Bluecoat on 12th October, is a day of performances, workshops and information. Liverpool-based singer/songwriter Nick Ellis leads a fantastic programme of live music, featuring the Mersey Belles, a cappella choir Vocality, and many more. Participants can also sign up for taster sessions as varied as yoga, relaxation, art, drama, singing, magic or street performance.
New to the festival for 2018, the Articipation event takes place at Constellations on 13th October. A Wellbeing Forum for the Arts & Creative Industries in the afternoon will be followed by live music in the evening. The keynote speaker is Clare Shaw (poet, performer, tutor and trainer), and an impressive panel, chaired by Nikki Greig, will explore the issues. The evening is given over to live music, with electro-pop trio Stealing Sheep headlining, supported by Mersey Wylie, who will perform her unique brand of original neo-soul; and SPQR, an exciting Liverpool band making vicious, emotionally mature art rock.
This Festival’s final event launches the TranScripts anthology at Museum of Liverpool on 14th October. This features new writing and launches an anthology of work from a creative writing project run by Liverpool Mental Health Consortium, in partnership with Writing on the Wall, and led by tutor Marjorie Morgan, writer-in-residence for Independent Liverpool Biennial and recently shortlisted for the prestigious Kenneth Branagh Award. There will also be a special performance from the D’Ukes of Hazzard.
Whether you are a lover of art, film, literature or simply want to support mental health awareness then this festival has something for you, and all for free!
Liverpool Mental Health Festival takes place from 10th-14th October and you can check out the full Festival Programme here: bit.ly/LMHF18_Programme