First Fortnight: Ireland’s Mental Health Arts Festival

We are delighted to once again partner with First Fortnight as a venue to host events for the annual Mental Health Arts Festival.

First Fortnight is a charity-based organisation with the express aim of challenging mental health prejudice through the creative arts. They believe the arts allow us to create a space where people can talk about mental health issues in a non-scripted manner. Once that conversation has begun, the hope would be that this will then help to change people’s perceptions about an issue that affects us all with one in four of us set to experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives.

This year we are hosting three events around the First Fortnight Festival.

CINEMA: Infinitely Polar Bear
Wednesday 18th January, 8pm

Boston in the late ‘70s; Cameron (Mark Ruffalo) is struggling with bipolar disorder; the future appears uncertain for his wife Maggie (Zoe Saldana) and their two daughters when a particularly difficult period sees him both fired from his job and hospitalised. When she is awarded a business scholarship to attend Columbia University, Maggie convinces her reluctant husband – convalescing at home on lithium treatment – to look after the girls for the eighteen months she’ll be in New York, a less than ideal arrangement given his frequent manic behaviour and booze-soaked depressions. For her debut feature writer/director Maya Forbes draws on personal experience of being raised by a bipolar father; by turns poignant and humorous, Infinitely Polar Bear is a refreshingly positive depiction of living with mental illness.
Ages: 16+
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TALK: A look at Arts & Health Projects in Kildare
Thursday 19th January, 7.30pm

As part of Riverbank Art Centre’s First Fortnight programme The Creative Well will be in conversation with artists and participants who work with and deliver arts and wellbeing projects in Co. Kildare. We will look at the work of three specific projects that promote mental and physical wellbeing in the county.

These projects are ongoing and offer opportunities for you to take part on an ongoing basis. This is a great chance to hear about the work, meet the artists and register your interest in taking part. Make Art your New Years Resolution!

Arts and Wellbeing Specialist Carolann Courtney will be there to talk names of interested people and point them towards the right sessions for their wants and needs.
These programmes are fully inclusive and open to all, regardless of experience, ability and mobility.

Dancer and choreographer Ailish Claffey and Dance & Health in Co. Kildare
Ailish Claffey will be entering into a yearlong residency with McAuley Place, Naas in February 2017 to create an informal community space for Dance and Health in Co. Kildare. She curated Kildare’s Dance & Movement Summer School / Dance & Health Seminar in 2016.

Visual Artist Dominic Thorpe and The Creative Well
The Creative Well commences a yearlong residency with Riverbank Arts Centre in January 2017. THIS MUST BE THE PLACE will explore the nature of the gallery and create a space for making, talking, incubating ideas and curation within Riverbank through visual art processes. The Creative Well is an arts and health project the promotes inclusion and access to contemporary arts process.

Musical Director Sharon Murphy and The Past Times Community Choir
Past Times Community Choir supports people living with Dementia, their families, carers and community. It is open for all members of the community who wish to sing. This is a strategic partnership between Kildare County Council and the HSE and the choir is proud to call McAuley Place their home.
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THEATRE: NB Theatre presents Creaking
Friday 20th January, 8pm

Combining humour and pathos, Creaking examines the everyday challenges and pressures on the mental health of older people in Irish society through the eyes of 79 year-old indomitable Rita. Presented as a staged reading, Creaking is a unique movement documentary for theatre that combines original text, with an improvised vocal score.This immersive theatre event will be followed by a post-show discussion with the director, writer and members of the cast.

Written by Noelle Brown
co-created by Oonagh Murphy & Noelle Brown
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