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This year’s festival runs from 11-21 May 2023 (to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week) with a programme of varied, vivid arts events that aim to create a platform for high-quality artwork that deals compassionately and intelligently with mental health. 

A word from festival director Dawn Richardson:

“Like many others, the global events of the last few years have encouraged me to further explore the varied ancient and urban landscapes of home, and the stories that inhabit them. Quite often, growing up in the North sees many of our rich shared heritage of Folk Tales, Myths and Legends become politicised, the language they are spoken in a tool to polarise and the sharing of these stories an act of subversion.

The myths that surround those living with Mental Health challenges struck me as having similar provocations. Leading me to decide upon this theme as a portal through which we can challenge stigma and mental-health inequalities in our systems and society.

A myth is sometimes referred to as ‘a shared dream’. It is ours that by using the Arts, this festival can help in a small way to lessen each other's struggle. To understand and celebrate our differences and to create accessible, interactive, empowering arts projects inclusive of those who do not fit into the mainstream Arts models.

We are delighted this year to have the one-and-only Bronagh Gallagher as our 'Festival Advocate'.  

I hope you enjoy the festival.”


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