Rusangano Family, Adrian Crowley, Ailbhe Reddy and A Smyth for First Fortnight – Mental Health Arts Festival

Rusangano Family, Delorentos, Adrian Crowley, Ailbhe Reddy and A Smyth are among a number of well-known music acts set to challenge mental health stigma this January as part of the 2018 First Fortnight mental health arts festival.

The Big Gig also features Choice Music Prize winners Rusangano Family, up and coming Dubliner Ailbhe Reddy and former Vann Music frontman A. Smyth. The show will take place in Tramline on January 13. Tickets from €12.

Now in its ninth year, First Fortnight 2018 will see live music, film, theatre, discussion, sport and arts events staged in 17 counties across Ireland to create open discussion and understanding of mental health problems, and challenge prejudice and discrimination.

This year, The Therapy Sessions Dublin are being curated by Delorentos and All Tvvins.  All Tvvins curated the January 5th Therapy Session which featured True Tides and Rushes, as well as spoken word performers Poetic Pilgrimage and Stephen James Smyth.

Delorentos will curate the January 12th Therapy Session which will feature Limerick’s Bleeding Heart Pigeons and Pillow Queens, as well as Manchester poet Tony Walsh.

The Therapy Sessions will also take place in Co. Cork this year. On January 6th, Cork’s undisputed queen of soul Karen Underwood lead the line up at The White Horse in Ballincollig, with former Fred frontman Joe O’Leary and Poetic Pilgrimage also on the bill.

The Therapy Sessions move to De Barras in Clonakilty on this Saturday, January 13th and will feature Cork electro three-piece Wiggle and local hero Míde Houlihan, as well as Manchester poet Tony Walsh.

On Friday January 12 in The Hawkswell Theatre, Sligo and on Saturday January 13 at The Glens Theatre, Manorhamilton, First Fortnight and Bluestack Records will present Choice Music Prize winner Adrian Crowley, once dubbed “the best songwriter that no one has heard of” by Ryan Adams, and the brilliant Nocturnes live. Tickets from €7.50.

Other events taking place as part of First Fortnight 2018 include: The Arts 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; 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

This 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.

Among the highlights of this year’s festival will be:

  • Lunatic, 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 performed exclusively at the Civic Theatre.
  • 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.
  • #InOurHourOfNeed – 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 difficulties.
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