Birmingham Rep announces details of BEDLAM Festival 2017

Events aim to celebrate arts and wellbeing.

A festival in Birmingham is aiming to raise awareness and get people thinking and talking about mental health through the arts. The BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival takes place from Tuesday 17th–Saturday 28th October 2017 in arts venues and mental health settings across the city. Shaped by people who have experienced mental ill health, the festival celebrates arts and wellbeing.

To mark the third BEDLAM Festival, as well as Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, organisers welcome on board 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.

Helping to mark World Mental Health Day on 10th October, the three week Festival features celebrated performance poet, Lemn Sissay, performing his one-man play, Something Dark (24th October, mac Birmingham); Kahaani (Story) (27th October, mac Birmingham) 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 October, Birmingham Repertory Theatre). And, a Wellbeing Discovery Day (Sunday 22nd October, Birmingham Repertory Theatre) for all ages will offer yoga, meditation, tai chi and a range of mindfulness activities.

Festival organiser, Steve Ball, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre said: “Evidence shows that the arts can have a positive impact on wellbeing 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 wellbeing 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

BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival takes place Saturday 17th–Saturday 28th October 2017. Further details are available from or 0121 236 4455.