Bedlam Arts and Mental Health Festival announces second wave of 2021 programme

World premieres, visual art, film and live performance through theatre and more on the online programme

Vincent Dance Theatre to perform online at Bedlam Arts and Mental Health Festival

A host of physical and virtual performances have been lined up for the city’s groundbreaking festival celebrating the arts, mental health and wellbeing.

The fifth edition of Bedlam features world premieres, visual art and film as well as powerful live performance through theatre spoke word, dance and music from Friday November 12 to Sunday November 21.

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With one in four people across the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year - and one in six experiencing a common mental health problem, like anxiety or depression, each week it’s more important than ever to share stories.

And taking parts is a natural way to do this.

Bedlam Arts and Mental Health Festival is on from November 10 to 21

A bit about Bedlam...

Bedlam is brought to you by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust together with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Midlands Arts Centre, Sampad south Asian Arts and guest partner Red Earth Collective.

The aim of the festival is to reduce stigma and encourage honest discussions around mental health - all with some fantastic performances.

What’s on at Bedlam Arts and Mental Health Festival 2021

Live performances include:

StereoHype - 7pm on Friday 12 November at Cheffy Reds Cafe Bar, John Bright Street and 7pm on Saturday November 20 at Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Road

Red Earth Collective in partnership with poet, author and TV presenter Sue Brown and Vocal Performer Dr Judith Bruce-Golding, Founders of Nakuona Arts, worked with a group of emerging black artists all with lived experience of mental health, to create new work exploring their diverse experiences through music, performance poetry, story-telling and song.

Vixen - 11am and 2.30pm on Saturday 13 November at WArd End Library, Washwood heath Road.  an original story by Matt Grinter of a young girl who is turning into a fox. Expect to see beauty hidden in unremarkable places, friendships that don’t follow the rules, the things that unite us and a girl aching to belong. Free for ages 7+ and their families

Buttercup -  8pm Friday 12 November at The Irish Centre, Wheeler’s Lane, Billesley - Buttercup spans the last four decades of life in Northern Ireland where suicide rates have risen sharply over the past few years. For ages 16+

For the full programme go to the Bedlam Festival website

Sink or Swim is on the online programme for Bedlam Arts and Mental Health Festival

What online performances are coming to Bedlam Arts and Mental Health Festival

The online performances include

Amina Khayyam Dance Company’s Catch a Bird Who Won’t Fly (Fri 12-Tue 30 Nov).

This free event is a digital dance-theatre piece made during the Covid lockdowns by working remotely with artists to bring attention to the devastating reality of a crime, which increased during lockdown and is often shrouded in secrecy – domestic violence against women. 

Using animation and green screen technology, four individual stories are told through Kathak dance from real-life experiences that were researched with the company’s network of women’s group users. (Contains distressing themes).

Everything is Absolutely Fine (Fri 12-Tue 21 Nov)

An online comedy musical about anxiety disorders, caring and trying to keep going. With power ballads, show tunes and body percussion.

House of Blakewell explore what it’s like to be human and to struggle. Alice is making a new start. Things are going to be different. She has moved out of the big city to a small town, doing the job she loves as an Occupational Therapist.

She is going to be a new person here, cool, calm and free. The kind of person who goes running every day and can go to a cafe and sit on their own. She is going to make a difference, meet new people and become a new woman…  BUT her old friend Anxiety has other ideas…

Matt Gurney One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is appearing at Bedlam Arts and Mental Health Festival

The Glad Game, written and performed by actor Phoebe Frances Brown - online from Mon 15-Sun 21 Nov. 

From her childhood impressions of Dolly Parton to grown up roles at The National Theatre, The Donmar Warehouse and New York Theatre Workshop, acting has defined who and what she is. In November 2018 Phoebe was diagnosed with an incurable cancer in the area of her brain that controls speech, language and memory.

The Glad Game, which can also be seen live at Midlands Arts Centre (Sun 14 Nov), is a story of finding herself in the bleakest of times, of discovering gladness in the saddest of moments and about how who and what you love can pull you through.

Sink or Swim

A short film in which Charlotte Edmonds explores the effects of mental health and depression in a mesmerising underwater ballet.

Commissioned by The Space, Sink or Swim is a poetic depiction of depression through underwater ballet, developed with the support of the mental health charity Mind. With choreography by Charlotte Edmonds, directed by Louis-Jack and featuring Royal Ballet Principal Francesca Hayward, it delves into the mind of someone battling to keep their head above water.

The Red Earth Collective presents Menologues and Femelogues (Fri 19-Sun 21 Nov)

A series of short films which will premiere at the BEDLAM festival.

At the height of the pandemic, Red Earth collaborated with Film Makers Daniel Anderson from Rites of Passage Productions and Daina Anderson at Open Lens Productions to make the films. The films created are all about the impact of Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement on the mental health of Black women and men in Birmingham.

Catch The Bird Who Won’t Fly features in the online programme for Bedlam Arts and Menthal Health Festival

Other online highights

Further online highlights include:

Drawing on Lived Experience Workshopled by Lou Platt  a UK based pioneer and founder of Artist Wellbeing. The workshop is aimed at artists/practitioners who are interested in developing their knowledge and skills in creating safer spaces to work in when using autobiographical material;

Vincent Dance Theatre’s In Loco Parentis is the company’s fourth production created using a highly participatory, socially engaged model of research, in which collaborators’ voices feature strongly in the creative process and the finished work – either in the soundtrack or performing live on stage;

Outside In: Artist Support Day offering tailored, one-to-one, support in setting up or refreshing your Outside In online gallery. This can include help with writing an artist’s statement and tips on how to best photograph your artwork.

For full information on all of the BEDLAM Festival programming and how to register/book can be found on the festival website

Follow the conversation online @BEDLAM_festival and using #BEDLAM2021

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