Case Studies

AWARD WINNER: BEDLAM: The Festival of Mad Ideas

  • Artist(s):
    Women & Theatre, Stan's Cafe, LouDeemY, Choir with No Name, Caroline Horton
  • Artform(s):
    Drama, theatre, comedy, poetry, spoken word and photography
  • Venue(s):
    Birmingham Repertory Theatre & The Library of Birmingham
  • Duration:
    1 - 9 November 2013
  • Health Need(s):
    Mental Health
Summary:
Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) and The REP worked in partnership with people who have lived experience of mental health issues to help shape the award winning BEDLAM: The Festival of Mad Ideas, an exciting programme of drama, theatre, comedy, poetry, spoken word and photography. BEDLAM showed how the arts can play an important part in reducing stigma and promoting recovery and wellbeing. BEDLAM won the WMAHW Arts & Health Award 2014 Community Wellbeing Award.

Project Information

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) and The Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The REP) worked in partnership with people who have lived experience of mental health issues to help shape BEDLAM: The Festival of Mad Ideas,, an exciting programme of drama, theatre, comedy, poetry, spoken word and photography. BEDLAM showed how the arts can play an important part in reducing stigma and promoting recovery and wellbeing.

BEDLAM showed participants work in a mainstream environment – at the newly reopened Birmingham Repertory Theatre and The Library of Birmingham – enabling them to take part in the experience of showing their work, see audience reactions and engage directly with them.

BEDLAM provided an opportunity for the participants to share their work with an audience, which included performances by The Choir with No Name, a photographic exhibition Through the Lens curated by LouDeemY and made up of work by people with lived experience aiming to challenge and reduce stigma and discrimination. BEDLAM also included comedy performances by participants of Women & Theatre's Laughing for a Change project.

BEDLAM commissioned a writer to research and work with those in residential and day mental health settings, which inspired a new play Jump! We'll Catch You, which developed both facilitator and participant practice. Readings of this play were presented at the mental health settings and at The REP and the play was used as the basis of a free workshop with aspiring writers exploring playwriting and mental health issues.

The festival presented a range of opportunities for the development of facilitator and participant experience and practice including the Mess workshop which accompanied the award winning performance of Caroline Horton's Mess. The Revolving Door Training targeted friends, families, carers, frontline staff and the general public, inviting them to explore negative attitudes and beliefs towards mental illness. BEDLAM also provided a rare opportunity for the public to gain free MHFA Lite (Mental Health First Aid Lite) training and Instant Karma Drama Workshops delivered by Community Vibe.

Two professional productions Mess by Caroline Horton and The Anatomy of Melancholy devised and performed by Stan's Cafe (Gerard Bell, Rochi Rampal, Graeme Rose and Craig Stephens) and directed by James Yarker, both examined mental health and wellbeing, providing a stimulus and profile for the festival.

Many events sold out and the festival attracted 1,650 people as audience members to 21 events with positive audience and participant feedback.

Click here to download the BEDLAM: The Festival of Mad Ideas Programme.
Click here to download the BEDLAM: The Festival of Mad Ideas Evaluation.

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