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Line-up revealed for mental health arts festival

The full line-up for the All in the Mind Festival 2019 has been officially revealed. More than 30 exciting theatre, dance, visual art and musical acts from around the UK will descend on Basingstoke for one day only, to shine a light on mental health. 

Three stages will cover Eastrop Parkon Saturday 14 September – the Dance Space, the Spoken Word & Music Stage, and the Theatre Tent. Other acts and activities will also take place around the park. 

Mental health festival

The free festival was started by Leigh Johnstone of Fluid Motion Theatre Company four years ago, to encourage performers and artists to explore mental health themes and to break the stigma that still surrounds many aspects of mental health and personal wellbeing. 

Leigh, from Bursledon, said: “I am delighted to announce the full line up for the festival – it is going to the most vibrant and exciting event we have put on. All of the acts are extremely talented and will provide fun, engaging and thought-provoking performances.”

Performances will explore topics such as anxiety, abusive relationships, self-harm and the challenges of caring for people who experience mental health issues.

Laura Greenway, from Basingstoke, will explore the physical and emotional effects of depression in an interactive performance. The audience will take up the role of ‘the illness’, constantly fuelling those afflicted with negative thoughts and intrusions.

Laura said: “All in the Mind is such an important event as it encourages the public to be able to talk about issues surrounding mental illness, which in turn helps to dramatically reduce the stigma can surround mental health problems. Being an artist, whose work solely focuses on my own experiences of mental illness, I know how incredibly important the aim of this festival is, and I am delighted to have been a part of this unique festival since its first year. Talking about mental health problems can literally save lives, and so I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing and life-changing event.”

Lots to do for children at mental health festival

There will be many activities and performances suitable for younger audiences as well. Collar & Cuffs Co, who are based in Bedfordshire, will put on a musical sensory and play session for children up to the age of seven, that will explore the themes in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Julie Collar, Creative Director, said: “This is our second time at the festival: we are so passionate about what it stands for, and about having the opportunity of creating space for families to encounter topics relating to children’s emotional development. You’re never too young or have such complex needs that you can’t explore what mental health and wellbeing are, or to have a little toolkit of safe and healthy strategies you can use with your grown-ups or carers to feel soothed when feelings become overwhelming.”

The All in the Mind Festival first started in 2016 with 79 visitors and last year’s event saw more than 1,300 people attend. The 2019 event promises to be the biggest and best yet and has received nearly £30,000 of funding from the Art’s Council. 

The festival is a culmination of a year-long programme of work by Fluid Motion, which includes working in schools and colleges to help young people build skills, increase confidence and self-esteem as well as working with adults with dementia using drama to help increase interaction, improve physical and mental wellbeing and reduce social isolation.

The funding from the Arts Council is the largest amount of funding Fluid Motion has ever received. Fluid Motion has also recently become a partner of the Without Walls Creative Development Network; a network that supports arts organisations across England with peer learning, knowledge and skill sharing to organise and deliver new festivals.

All in the Mind takes place on Saturday 14 September and people wanting to attend must register for their free tickets at

Mental health festival poster
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