Scottish Mental Health Arts And Film Festival 2012 kicks off

Launching festival: Rod Jones performed in Paisley last week

The sixth Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival kicks off this week with the first of over 250 arts events, running from October 1 to 24 across Scotland.

Susan Philipsz, winner of the 2010 Turner Prize, and Rod Jones of Idlewild helped launch the 2012 Festival – which encompasses theatre, film, dance, music, comedy, literature and the visual arts at Paisley Town Hall – last week.

HeadSpace at Platform, Easterhouse, today launches Glasgow East’s contribution to SMHAFF 2012. The launch event, which takes place between 2 and 4 pm, features a selection of mini-performances as a taster to the events taking place between October 8 to 13.

Headspace offers free- and low-cost opportunities to take part in music, drama, visual art and creative writing as well as watching performances by young people, theatre groups and creative writers.

Fife region also hold their launch event Feat First this evening (7 to 9.30pm) at Carnegie Primary School, Dunfermline, with a variety of exciting and thought-provoking entertainment including comedic monologues and film screenings.

Highlights of the first week of the festival include two shows which emphasise the benefits of humour in maintaining mental wellbeing – with acclaimed writer and stand-up comedian Mark Steel in Moray, while comedian and poet John Hegley brings his show for all ages, Animal Alphaboat, to Edinburgh.

My Sister, by Scandal Theatre, a Glasgow-based international touring company, is a piece of physical theatre about a family secret that threatens to destroy two siblings.

Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe, it is written by Jessica Phillipi, directed by Deborah Hannan and performed by them both at The Old Hairdresser’s, Glasgow, while Nicola McCartney directs Molly Bunder at The Arches, Glasgow, in The Occupation of Heather Rose, a monodrama telling the story of a newly trained nurse who travels to Canada’s unforgiving north. Slowly, she realizes their health issues are related to its political and cultural impotency.

Melancholia and Creativity is an afternoon of discussion and Q&As supported by The University of Edinburgh. Writers, thinkers, doctors and artists have long pondered the causes and cures for inexplicable sadness. Writers, commentators and psychotherapists will take the floor at The Sanctuary, Edinburgh.

The Festival will continue to run throughout most of October. See mhfestival.com.