Things to look forward to at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

Highlights include Augusto Baol film screenings and Drew Taylor's re-imagining of Ginsberg's 'Howl'

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Things to look forward to at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

Vanishing Point / Victor Franowski

Now in its eighth year, the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, has always had a commitment to theatre that goes beyond simple issue-based drama into personal reflections on mental health. This year it includes the work of Augusto Boal – a great advocate of theatre with a sharp political purpose – in Life in Progress: Image Theatre and Vanishing Point’s Tomorrow, a heart-rending mediation on the loneliness of ageing.

Another highlight comes from Drew Taylor, fresh from challenging Commonwealth homophobia in 44 Stories. This time, he’s teamed up with Julia and The Doogans for Howl(ing), a re-imagining of Allen Ginsberg's mighty poem, ‘Howl’. 'A concert that is just about the words and music is something I've wanted to do for a while,' says Taylor. 'It is inspired by my recent trip to San Francisco where I saw an exhibition of Ginsberg's photography: his holistic approach to the pursuit of art is so inspiring and really touched me directly as I’m always finding new ways to express myself artistically.'

Alongside The Assessment from activist artist the vacuum cleaner, Taylor’s poetry is a visceral entry in SMHAFF's programme. As he concludes, like the festival, it’s more than an abstract selection: 'it reminds me of a night out on Sauchiehall Street.’

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 16 Oct; Arches, Glasgow, Tue 21 Oct.

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

An arts and film festival which combines high-level programming with a worthy aim: to challenge and change attitudes towards mental health. Through a series of events, workshops and screenings around Scotland, the programme probes deeper questions while maintaining an exciting and varied line-up.

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