Wales Mental Health Arts Festival 2016


wallsPerformances at the Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

NOVEMBER 21st – 24th

The Weston Studio is wheelchair accessible and speech to text will be available at all performances

Monday 21st November

Double Bill and Question & Answer Session

7pm – 10pm

Tickets £6 / £10

Catriona James – ‘Worse Things Happen’

I was looking at the sea. I was thinking about how easy it would be to disappear.

What happens when you believe the stigma about you? Can you love your biggest failure? Worse Things Happen is a solo performance about one person’s experience of depression, told through true stories and dance.

Catriona is an actor, a lover of true stories, a physical performer and a depressive. She devised and wrote this piece with dramaturgical and directorial support from Louise Osborn, and movement direction from Lara Ward.

Prisons Within by Anthony Wright

‘The Prison Within’ project began life when Anthony was commissioned by ‘Mind’ to write a play as part of their campaign ‘ Time To Change’ to end stigma attached to mental health.

The play is set in a prison, an environment where many victims of this stigma end up.  ‘Was prison really the end? Or could it be the beginning? Could jail offer the chance to seek the help that, for whatever reason, evaded the characters? Why was this help not offered or taken at an earlier stage in the protagonists’ lives?’

‘Prisons Within’ takes us on a roller coaster ride and at the end, the journey forces one to re-evaluate who really are the victims?

Tickets available at the WMC, please go to:


Tuesday 22nd November

Double Bill and Question & Answer Session

7pm – 10pm

Tickets £6 / £10

Blackwood Little Theatre – The Ruins of Talgarth

This play is based on a true story, written by Vic Mills. Jean has been committed at the age of 18 to the lunatic asylum in Talgarth ( known as ‘The Bin’) at the insistence of her husband, William.  We try to understand what that experience might have been like for Jean and the reasons that her husband “put her in the bin”.

Blackwood Little Theatre was formed in 1929 and has been serving its patrons with high quality theatre ever since. It has its own premises in the town, which it owns and maintains itself. Blackwood Little Theatre produces at least 5 productions a year, as well as competing in One Act Festivals. Over the past 10 years, the theatre has been the proud recipient of 35 awards, including the Gwent Festival of One Act Plays, The IATA Liverpool (Nova Scotia) International Festival award for best new play (Fancying Sheep) and the 2008 Wales Final for Last Tango in Blackwood and the again in 2012 with Biscuits. BLT has represented Wales at International Festivals in Canada on 3 occasions and is pleased to be taking part in this festival raising awareness of mental health and women’s issues.


Paul Whittaker – Gods and Kings, a shared reading

Paul’s stage play is focussed on the moment he received his diagnosis of Bi Polar Manic Depression as a twenty-three year old Film Student in Newport, Gwent. He entered the room a troubled member of society and after a twenty minute consultation was told he had to take lithium (a side effect of which is coma) or he’d be dead by the time he was 30. To Paul’s surprise, the choice was not as straightforward as it seemed.
This work in progress piece is unapologetically honest, humorous and challenges the perceptions of what it is to live with mental illness. It is a piece that appeals to a wider audience, not just the mental health sector, and explores how people react to a mental health diagnosis and how an individual can be redefined by it in the eyes of the world.

Tickets available at the WMC, please go to:


Wednesday 23rd

Double Bill and Question & Answer Session

7:30pm – 10pm

Tickets £5

Re-Live Coming Home

“You just don’t feel anything. You feel dead inside. You know you’re hurting people, your wife, your kids, your mother. You’re breaking their hearts but you just can’t feel a fucking thing”

Re-Live present a new theatre piece, devised and performed by military veterans and their family members, exploring the impact of military trauma on the mental health of families.

Challenging, truthful and ultimately uplifting, this piece is a testament to the role of forgiveness and hope in healing minds and souls affected by conflict.

Streets Ahead Film – ‘Urgent Assistance Required’

‘Charlie has been feeling increasingly disconnected from and at the same time complacent about people and things around him. His agitation steadily grows, he finds it harder to concentrate. It all comes to a head in an explosion of anguish and loss of control. As his wife, Maria, says “he’s so sturdy. Why did this happen to him?”

‘Urgent Assistance Required’ shows that none of us are completely immune to stress and pressure and no one great traumatic event has to happen in our lives for our world to come crashing in around us.

This tale is about knowing what can happen, understanding what can be done about it and caring for our own and other’s mental health.’

The Q&A at the end of this session will be focused on PTSD.

Tickets available at the WMC, please go to:


Thursday 24th

Double Bill and Question & Answer Session

6pm – 10pm

Tickets £8 / £12

Elaine Paton – Elements of Momentos of Leaving: Dad and I

Following on from the success of Elaine’s project at Whitchurch Hospital, ‘Moments’ is an intimate evening of personal stories, performed by Elaine, weaving together her and her Father’s stories.

Tim Rhys-Evans – Lecture / Recital

Join one of Wales’ favourite Musical Directors Tim Rhys-Evans and stunning soprano Elin Manahan Thomas as they explore the lives of composers through the ages with mental ill health.

Tickets available at the WMC, please go to:

For a complete listing and further information of all the Festival Events please visit


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