The Space In Between is a new stage for Village Green 2019 that brings together a lively mix of performance, poetry, music, conversation, comedy, artist-led workshops and games, alongside some feel-good pampering – all with the shared theme of exploring mental health and the feeling of being ‘other’.
As a society, we are becoming more aware of the importance of self-care and wellbeing and as the complexities of mental health are increasingly understand, this once taboo subject has benefitted from an intensified focus. In particular, artists and performers are choosing to create work to share their own lived experiences, spurred on by a desire for increased conversation and the breaking down of the stigma that some still feel, if affected.
Mental health is one of the key issues of our time, with one in four of us likely to require help at some point in our lives.
Performances across the day include:-
SK Shlomo: After collaborating with Ed Sheeran, Bjork and Damon Albarn, the record-breaking beatboxer SK Shlomo turns electronic singer-songwriter on his debut album Surrender, blending his innovative live-looping and breathtaking beatboxing with epic synths, crushingly honest lyrics and lush electronic layers. Massive Attack meets James Blake. His current album, brought to fruition through crowdfunding, deals with SK Shlomo’s own mental health journey.
'I’ve realised that the biggest challenge for me is to stand up on stage and simply be myself. No clever machines, no fancy techniques, no persona. This is the real me, naked so to speak. It’s the scariest, most exciting thing I’ve ever tried.' SK Shlomo.
'SK Shlomo’s new record squares up to depression with such style… brilliant music" Eddy Temple Morris
Ashleigh Owen’s HIP HIP I’M GAY! is a comedy cabaret that follows real-life stories and experiences of coming out and the mental health struggles people have faced alongside their sexual identity. Intertwined with hilarious sketches, original songs and dazzling dance routines, this show is guaranteed to take you on an emotional roller-coaster. This piece has been created as a letter to society – to say that we may have come a long way legally, but there is still a lot of work to do in regard to LGBTQ+ rights and behaviours towards the LGBTQ+ community that have had a negative impact on our mental health. Hip Hip I'm Gay! is powerful, funny, moving, heartfelt, uplifting and is delivered by a cast of queer performers who have lived similar stories to the ones depicted.
'I laughed, I bawled my eyes out, and I left with a sense of belonging. We really need more theatre like this', Audience member
Pope’s Addiction Clinic: An AA style clinic confessional show with Pope Lonegan and fellow stand-up comedians, Lou Sanders and Ben Target. Pope Lonergan is a comedian, Quaker, drug addict and co-creator of ‘The Care Home Tour’ and ‘Pope’s Addiction Clinic’. As heard on BBC Radio 4. “The stories are awkward, humiliating, awful and hilarious, occasionally shocking but deeply compelling” iNews
Ben Target is an artist-comedian who won the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year in 2011 and was nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2012. "One of very few comics who manage to do something new with the art form while keeping an audience thoroughly entertained." Guardian
Lou Sanders is a widely acclaimed comic who has appeared on ‘8 Out of Ten Cats Does Countdown’, ‘Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled’, ‘The Russell Howard Hour’ & more. “Destined for hugeness” Time Out.
Choreographer and dancer, Kate Marsh has spent the last two years working with Metal to explore (with 24 other artists) the issues presented on stage at The Space In Between as part of an Arts Council England funded ChangeMakers project. She will host a ‘magazine style’ performance and conversation with contributions from spoken word artists and musicians, including:-
Byron Vincent - Post traumatic bipolar recovering drug addict, and other things I don't include on my CV. A writer, performer and broadcaster (Radio 4); keen activist on issues around poverty, class and social exclusion; ambassador for mental health charities Rethink and Mental Health Foundation.
Matty May - an uncensored look at Mental Health, Men, council estates and suicide in the context of queerness. Associate Dir, Scottee & Friends.
Charley Genever - visceral and vulnerable poetry from her perspective as a young feminist woman, provoking how women navigate their bodies and minds.
Josie Anne Searl - a poet and fiction writer delving into the loneliness of mental health, unrequited romances and physical disability.
Hollie Dee - rhythmic and melodic poetry exploring mental health & mindfulness
Chris Robson - thoughtful songwriter, and emotive singer who writes stories from the mind and songs from the heart
Renn Stedman - “A fierce, fable wielding force of acoustic punk poetry”
Nicola Collis - singer songwriter from Benfleet with an individual sound and range of genres
Chris Asher - haunts audiences with his ambient alternative soul music and his intimate and delicate lyricism surrounding mental health
Artist-led workshops, hosted across the day include:-
A Pop-up Poetry and Pampering shop that invites women to get a beauty treatment, chat to artist, Charley Genever and write empowering poems onto mirrors about their relationship with their bodies.
Power Pants – artist Priya Mistry says ‘we’re COPING better… some days I put on my Wonder Woman Pants…they give that edge, that Invisible Layer that helps me cope with my Invisible Disability. I think we all have some idea about coping, acts of empowerment and self belief…I Invite you to craft your own POWER PANTS! and then Strike a POSE!
Dads and Daughters offers a space to fathers and their daughters to discuss gender equality The project is convened by Jude Kelly - artistic director, leading campaigner and founder of WOW- Women of the World Festival looking at the role of fathers and daughters as routes of change in creating a more gender equal world. It is part of a wider research project funded through the Rothschild Foundation.
Kana Waiwaiku – photographer and film maker will set up a portrait photo-booth to capture thoughts and images for an Instagram takeover across the day.
Chopp Hair will be setting up a ‘festival hair make over’ stop alongside The Space in Between, complete with @Queenythebus, offering FREE Glitter Festival Hair that will make you want to high 5 everyone! - reminding us of the relationship between taking time for ourselves with an increased sense of wellbeing. It will be an elegant electric, intimate atmosphere where clients experience the unique philosophy and approach that Paul and his creative team of hair gurus work their magic. “We are in the business of making people feel good about themselves. Chopp is a breath of fresh air by the beach”.
A safe space and a number of health professionals will be on site for conversation and support should this be needed.
Alongside, community support projects, such as SECE Mind, Mental Health Employment Network (MHEN), Metal’s own NetPark Wellbeing Project and the Therapy For You Centre will be on site to offer information and pathways to access further support within the Southend community.
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