“Get Yourself Together” by Josh Coates
One Christmas, Josh was diagnosed with depression and then hit by a car. The following year he was on Job Seekers whilst attempting to balance his sanity and gift buying. This is a show about being ill and being fit for work.

This is a show about the DWP and being from Bolton. This is a show that explores the thin line between mental health as a clinical and a political issue.
Part stand up, part spoken word and part teenager in his room pretending he’s in a punk band.

"Reclaiming The Languages of Lunacy" - a workshop with sean burn

Important Information about this event. Updated 14/01/17. Read before booking. Please be aware that this event is in two halves; a workshop and a performance. The workshop, which takes place from 7.30 to 9.00pm is now fully booked. If you have already booked a place, you will be e-mailed confirmation about this seperately. Booking remains open for the performance, starting at 9.00pm.

In this workshop, sean will encourage you to explore crossovers between writing and art to reclaim languages around mental distress. You don't have to consider yourself an artist or writer to participate, just be interested in creatively responding to group discussions around wider socio-political issues of lived experiences.  We all have stories to tell.

Following this workshop, sean will perform 'A Little Added Nuts' -using the humour of live art to criticise current narratives around mental distress and find beauty beneath those wounding words.

Orbit by DanceSyndrome

Join DanceSyndrome’s as they perform their latest piece; an inclusive dance performance combining solo, duet and group pieces inspired by our relationship to nature and the solar system. Orbit is performed by dancers with and without learning disabilities.

“How We Think We Think” by Heart to Heart Theatre

When Tom witnesses the suicide of a stranger he has had a chance encounter with on the London Underground, he makes it his mission to understand why the events unfolded as they did. He tears apart his own worldview while trying to piece together the life and mind of a man he will never know. HOW WE THINK WE THINK is a performance that strikes up conversation with its audience about how we process decision-making. Using audience involvement to seek answers, Heart to Heart Theatre invite you to join us for an exploration of who, why and what we are. How do you think we think?

Neural Knitworks

A collaborative art/science project about mind and brain health. Whether you’re a whiz with yarn, or just discovering the joy of craft, now you can crochet, wrap, knit or knot – and find out about neuroscience! Your creations will be joined with others to weave a virtual, knitted ‘neural network’ in an on line art exhibition.

Kutmaan by Bradley Secker

Exhibition of images from Bradley’s body of work on LGBT asylum seekers from the Middle East.

Listen to pre-recorded audio explaining the project, the individual cases depicted within it, and an analysis of the wider situation for LGBTs in the MENA region.

There will be a live Skype Q&A with Bradley regarding the images and the issues they cover. 

Championing Freaks and Fools” by Sandy Davidson
A novel improvisational and spontaneous approach, this performance of music and spoken word blends audience participation with unprescheduled performance to explore mental health issues.

Steve Khan's Connections

Steve has over 30 years of accessing mental health and addiction services. He has been homeless for periods of his life and wants to use his artistic skills to challenge the stigma associated with mental health. In this digital art/photography exhibition capturing stigma of multiple complex needs. The artwork explores the impact of trauma, abuse, and mental health; both what we see, and what is hidden behind our masks

Ridiculusmus presents “Brexit and the Denial of Death”

In 2012 Jon Haynes and David Woods began to collaborate with psycho-pharmacologists and psychiatrists. This resulted in The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland, a play informed by the Open Dialogue approach to treating psychosis. Since then, conversation and joint research with selected specialists has led to the acclaimed Give Me Your Love (2016).

In the final instalment of their triptych on mental health Ridiculusmus explore the hinterland where life begins and ends. In a fragile work informed by conversations about the EU referendum, the latest research into complicated grief and interviews with the recently bereaved, the company experiment with relentless positivity, dressing up and occasional farting in the corner.

“Like a cross between a Beckett play and a Monty Python sketch.”

(Sydney Morning Herald on Give Me Your Love)

JaZZ RiOT combine spoken word with music to create something completely unique. Their songs cover topics like revolution, vaping, racist cats, marijuana, corrupt politicians and the merits of dry shampoo. 
"The sensibility of John Cooper Clarke, the look of Iggy Pop and the passion of the Sex Pistols" - Gigglebeats
"Venomous, thoughtful and very funny…a glorious blast of vitriol and compassion " - The Crack.

Clare Shaw - The Poetry of Self-Injury

Clare Shaw is a writer with two poetry collections: Straight Ahead (2006) and Head On (2013), both published by Bloodaxe. Clare also writes in other genres including creative non-fiction: Some Girls’ Mothers (Route, 2008). Her play That’s Not the Way to Do It was staged at Leeds Carriageworks in 2008 and she has written and edited a range of resources on mental health issues, including including ‘Otis Doesn’t Scratch’ (PCCS, 2015) and ‘Our Encounters with Self Harm’ (PCCS, 2013). Clare is a regular tutor for the Poetry School, the Wordsworth Trust, the National Writers’ Centre for Wales, and the Arvon Foundation, who describe her as ‘one of the country’s most dynamic young poets’. She also works as a mental health trainer, researcher and consultant. Poetry and mental health might seem like very separate careers. They’re not. Where they meet is in Clare’s passion for language, a passion rooted in the experience of lacking the right words. Her work in mental health and poetry is fuelled by the conviction that everybody should have the opportunity to express themselves to the best of their ability.

Dolly Sen presents “Bedlamb”

A performance of poetry, comedy and readings from Dolly’s various books about the experience of  a career in madness, spanning 30 years and no standing ovations from the mental health system.  Come find out how Dolly “used art to reclaim my soul and fight for better care for anyone in mental distress”.   This show may or may not include Dolly dressed up as a lamb!

Psychologists in the City: Why don't they just leave?

This psychologists in the city discussion on the subject of domestic abuse will be led by Dr Keri Nixon. Domestic abuse is now discussed quite openly in most communities and is considered wrong by many. Despite this, there is still a deep misunderstanding of why domestic abuse victims stay in relationships, don’t report abuse or worse return to an abusive partner once they have managed to escape. This talk will focus on this misunderstanding drawing on research, my experience of working within the domestic abuse area for almost twenty years and the voices of women I work with who have escaped abuse. In addition, the more hidden forms of abuse, such as honour based violence and forced marriage will be discussed, to exemplify the difficulties many victims face when fleeing abuse. I will explore the mental health ramifications that inflict survivors and how their journey of recovery only begins the day they manage to escape. Escaping physically is the first step, recovering mentally is a long and often difficult journey.

Caz and Co - Open Mic

Karen Noonan and the Wirral Harmony Singers host an open mic night. The group welcome everyone to join them whether you are a novice or highly talented, you’ll be welcome at this open mic night set up by a group of people who met at a day centre for adults with mental health. This mixed group of people who use mental health services and volunteers, welcome you to join in an open mic night of music and fun.

Stigma – the Grey Areas

A powerful drama about mental health and stigma performed using the Forum Theatre technique. This group of inspirational people with lived experience of using and/or working in mental health services have come together to develop this piece. Come and be part of responding to, and challenging, stigma.

“It made me think. Take some action – some small action can make a difference”

“Valuable and so innovative”

“Refreshing, motivational and emotional”

(Previous audience members)

ReVision Featuring "Love and Mercy"

ReVision are a coalition of radical activists who believe in the social model of mental health. We are seeking to be a voice for change by promoting and exploring knowledge and understandings of the social, economic and political causes of mental distress, and by proposing socially derived alternatives to medicalised approaches.

Here we host the film love and mercy followed by a discussion.

Love and Mercy is a biopic of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. The film depicts a number of issues relevant to critical reflections on mental health. These include the intersection of experiences of mental distress and creativity and the paternalism of psychiatric services and perhaps families, resulting in Wilson’s case in being subject to a legal order by which he didn’t have control over important career and life decisions. The film deals sensitively with the experience of voice hearing and the soundscape of the movie is one of its artistic strengths.

Glastonbury Recovery Quilt – Jane Norton

Come and view the installation of a Recovery Quilt made by service-users who are facing addiction and mental health issues. Many have been homeless, and the individual squares of this quilt explore their experience of being excluded and stigmatised.

North End Writers

An evening of readings at the Everyman by writers and local people who have lived experience of mental distress: this will be presented and co-hosted by writer Pauline Rowe and poet Maria Isakova Bennett. Readings will include the Mossley Hill Writing group, people from the Liverpool Elegies project (North End Writers) and others including service-users from Mersey Care.

Running wi’ Scissors

Two one-hour sets. Mixed genres. Four performers using: acoustic guitars; octave mandola; fiddle; cajon; trumpet; blues harmonica; trombone.

Henry Maybury

Henry's older brother died of a drug overdose and Henry talks about his experiences as a family member and how he started to write songs and channel his emotions creatively. He is a musician who has made videos of his work, which he shows at the event and also performs live. He has been on various media including radio 4 and talks from lived experience as a family member rather than from any medico professional angle.


Smiiffy is a 21 year old rapper who is passionate about putting an end to suicide rates. Smiiffy raps his own personal experiences and puts them into a song in hope he can help others in a positive manor. iTunes top 40 artist Smiiffy devotes everything to others in need and his own supporters who have been incredible. Josh, is currently working Kaleidoscope Plus Group & Respect Yourself and many more charities. Over a staggering 20,000 people have heard of Smiiffy and have given him many opportunities by becoming a supporter. Smiiffy has earned 3 TV appearances, over 40 Radio plays from many stations including BBC WM, 7 Newspapers and Magazines and 7 awards from his music and charity work.

. Birmingham Rising Star 2015. Kaleidoscope Special Recognition. Top 40 iTunes Artist. Papyrus Young Champion (Volunteering). Smethwick Young Champion. Contribution To Charity Work. Contribution To Charity - Tappy Twins Charity.