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BEDLAM - Arts, mental health and well-being festival comes to MAC and across the city

BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival aims to raise awareness and get people thinking and talking about mental health through the arts.  Opening on Tuesday 17 to Saturday 28 October 2017, the festival - now in its third year, takes place in arts venues including MAC Birmingham and The Birmingham Rep and within mental health settings across the city.  Shaped by people who have experienced mental ill health, the festival celebrates arts and well-being and is supported by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

This year the Festival welcomes new partners mac Birmingham and Sampad South Asian Arts who have worked with artists to create and present new diverse theatre, dance and visual art.

The three week Festival features celebrated performance poet, Lemn Sissay, performing his one-man play,Something Dark (24 Oct, MAC; Kahaani (Story) (27 Oct, MAC) will bring to life stories of ageing, loss and friendship; Birmingham actress, Olivia Winteringham looks at love and grief and how the state of our minds can affect how we remember our past in Delightful (26 & 27 Oct, Birmingham Rep). And, a Well-being Discovery Day ( 22 Oct, Birmingham Rep) for all ages will offer yoga, meditation, tai chi and a range of mindfulness activities led by MAC tutors.

On the opening night of the Festival, MAC Associate Artist Johnny Autin and his company will perform A Positive Life an immersive theatre experience inspired by the individual journeys of five characters, featuring dance, physical theatre and spoken word, the work delivers an uplifting and engaging message on self-love, sexual health and sex ed’ stories. 

Festival organiser, Steve Ball, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre said: “Evidence shows that the arts can have a positive impact on well-being yet there have been too few opportunities for people affected by mental ill health to engage with the arts.  We hope that this festival will change that.”

Steve continued “Our inaugural festival in 2013 attracted 1,650 participants and audience members and increased to 2,408 in 2015. With the addition of new partners and venues the 2017 festival promises to be bigger than ever.” 

Lakhvir Rellon, Director of Community Engagement, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust adds: “One in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year and at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust we cared for 65,000 service users in 2016/17. BEDLAM provides a creative insight into our mental health and it is recognised that the arts can contribute to recovery and wellbeing.  We hope this festival will encourage people to speak about mental health and also to seek help at an early stage.”

As well as arts performances and workshops BEDLAM hosts Arts & Wellbeing a half-day symposium examining the use of arts in wellb-eing and mental health. Plus Mental Health First Aid Lite offers an introduction to mental health issues for the public. Both will be held on Friday 27 October.  Further information can be found here. www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival takes place Saturday 17 to Saturday 28 October 2017.   

For full BEDLAM listings and information visit: www.birmingham-rep.co.uk,, www.macbirmingham.co.uk and www.sampad.org.uk

For press enquiries please contact Mandy Rose, M Seven Public Relations via email at   mandyrose@msevenpublicrelations.co.uk - or call 07454 365421.

Image: A Positive Life - 17 October at MAC.

Evidence shows that the arts can have a positive impact on well-being yet there have been too few opportunities for people affected by mental ill health to engage with the arts.  We hope that this festival will change that. Our inaugural festival in 2013 attracted 1,650 participants and audience members and increased to 2,408 in 2015. With the addition of new partners and venues the 2017 festival promises to be bigger than ever.” 

Steve Ball, Festival organiser, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

One in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year and at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust we cared for 65,000 service users in 2016/17. BEDLAM provides a creative insight into our mental health and it is recognised that the arts can contribute to recovery and wellbeing.  We hope this festival will encourage people to speak about mental health and also to seek help at an early stage.”

Lakhvir Rellon, Director of Community Engagement, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

MAC and Sampad events