Award-winning playwright and BBC series co-creator Eva O’Connor,
broadcaster and author Nikki Hayes music acts Rusangano Family, All
Tvvins, Delorentos, Adrian Crowley, Ailbhe Reddy; international poetry
performers Poetic Pilgrimage, Manchester poet Tony Walsh; director and
screenwriter Nick Kelly and former sports stars Alan O’Mara and Dermot
Earley are among a number of well-known names challenging mental health
stigma this month as part of the 2018 First Fortnight mental health arts
festival, which is now underway in 17 counties across Ireland.
in its ninth year, First Fortnight 2018 sees live music, film, theatre,
discussion, sport and arts events staged to create open discussion and
understanding of mental health problems, and challenge prejudice and
Among the events now taking place across Dublin
and selected venues nationwide include Lunatic, There I Go, a powerful
new play based on the memoir ‘Bird’s Nest Soup’ by Hanna Greally which
is currently being staged at the Civic Theatre until January 6th.
the age of 19, Hanna was wrongfully incarcerated in an Irish lunatic
asylum for more than 20 years. ‘Bird’s Nest Soup’ shocked the nation
upon its publication in 1971 and that year Hanna made a memorable
appearance on the Late Late Show with Gay Byrne.
Leads 2 Better
Mental Health is a unique meet-up event involving dog owners and is one
of seven events that will take place in Cork on January 14. Musicians
Adrian Crowley and Nocturnes will take part in First Light, a night of
great Irish talent in Sligo and Leitrim, while Nick Kelly’s heartwarming
movie The Drummer & The Keeper – about the friendship between a
young drummer with bipolar disorder and a goalkeeper with Asperger’s
Syndrome – will screen in 14 counties in partnership with See Change,
the national mental health stigma reduction partnership, and in
assocation with IFI National.
Is technology reshaping how we
respond to mental health issues? For the first time First Fortnight will
examine aspects of technology and mental health in Don’t Worry be APPY,
as part of our series of discussion events in Dublin’s Trinity College
on January 10.
What is the state of Ireland’s mental health
services? How can you help? Mental health advocate, author and DJ Nikki
Hayes will chair #InOurHourOfNeed, a panel debate on current mental
health policy held in association with Mental Health Reform and A Lust
For Life in Dublin’s Wood Quay venue on January 11.
Fortnight once again partners with St Patrick’s Mental Health Services
for a series of events, including the premiere of Sally Denver Matthews,
a humourous one-woman show that looks at the mental health strains of
being a new parent and how mothers often compare themselves to other
Award-winning playwright and actress Eva O’Connor
returns to First Fortnight with an interactive piece of theatre, The
Friday Night Effect, while dark, comedic odyssey The Egg is a Lonely
Hunter will be staged at Smock Alley Theatre. Both will be staged from
This year’s music events will include four Therapy
Session events in Cork and Dublin, two of which will be curated by
Delorentos and All Tvvins. Delorentos will perform an intimate and
special three-piece acoustic set as part of the First Fortnight Therapy
Sessions at The Workman’s Club, Dublin on Friday January 12 that will
also feature Limerick trio, Bleeding Heart Pigeons.
Big Gig also returns featuring Rusangano Family, Ailbhe Reddy, Le Boom
and A. Smyth while this year’s Banter event will feature An evening with
Barry Hyde of The Futureheads.
Hope Flies is the theme of this
year’s festival, a concept that will be embodied in a new collaborative
sculpture from Co Clare-based artist Shona MacGillivray and young people
from the National Learning Network. The sculpture will express ideas of
what hope means to them and will travel from the west of Ireland to the
east to be displayed in the atrium of Dublin City Council’s Civic
Offices on Wood Quay.
Other events taking place as part of First
Fortnight 2018 include: heArts and Minds, a series of events within the
National Gallery of Ireland discussing art and mental health, a special
screening of the movie Loving Vincent and a post show discussion in the
stunning NGI courtyard; The Public Diary, an interactive multimedia
installation of personal diary entries collected at last year’s First
Fortnight; Corinthian: Sports & Mental Health debate featuring
former Kildare footballer Dermot Earley; screenings of acclaimed films
Loving Vincent, 32 Pills and The Departure from Emmy award-winning Lana
Wilson; and OutStraight – a concept-based show combining spoken word/
hip-hop theatre with visual art graffiti; and much, much more. The full
line-up can be viewed at http://www.firstfortnight.ie.
year’s festival presenting partners include; Mental Health Reform; St
Patrick’s Mental Health Services; Mental Health Ireland and See Change,
the National Mental Health Stigma Reduction Partnership.
the official festival programme, First Fortnight co-founder and project
manager JP Swaine said: “First Fortnight has become synonymous with
fresh, creative and innovative ways to spark the national conversation
on mental health. Each festival that passes seems to encourage a new
crop of artists to work creatively in response to mental health as an
issue in Irish society and it has been hugely encouraging to meet with
artists who have been developing their work with the expressed purpose
of contributing to the First Fortnight.”
Paul Gilligan, CEO of St
Patrick’s Mental Health Services, said: “We are delighted to partner
once again this year with the First Fortnight festival. Mental health
stigma continues to be deeply engrained in Irish society and this
affects those experiencing mental health difficulties on a day-to-day
basis. However, negative attitudes are being slowly challenged and
replaced by a more accurate, understanding and optimistic view of mental
health difficulties and those who experience them.
Fortnight is a festival that highlights and advocates for healthier
attitudes regarding mental health and those that experience mental
health difficulties through the arts. We are delighted to partner with
the First Fortnight festival to reemphasise the importance of reaching
out to those in need of mental health care and to further advocate for
the rights of those experiencing difficulty.”
Among the highlights of this year’s festival will be:
There I Go - a powerful new play based on the memoir ‘Bird’s Nest Soup’
by Hanna Greally. At the age of 19, Hanna was wrongfully incarcerated
in an Irish lunatic asylum for more than 20 years. ‘Bird’s Nest Soup’
shocked the nation and in 1971 Hanna made a memorable appearance on the
Late Late Show with Gay Byrne. This will be perfomed exclusively at the
Don’t Worry Be APPY - Is technology reshaping how
we respond to mental health issues? For the first time First Fortnight
will examine technology and mental health as part of a panel discussion.
- What is the state of Ireland’s mental health services? How can you
help? Mental health advocate, author and DJ Nikki Hayes chairs a panel
debate on Ireland’s current mental health policy held in association
with Mental Health Reform and A Lust For Life.
Banter: An Evening
With Barry Hyde of The Futureheads will see the frontman perform tracks
from his debut solo album and discuss his battles with mental health