A HOST of events will take place across Renfrewshire over the next few weeks in a bid to put mental health in the spotlight.
Everything from feel-good films and stand-up comedy to thought-provoking drama is being staged as part of Scotland’s fourth annual Mental Health Arts & Film Festival.
The festival aims to use the arts to challenge attitudes towards mental health.
Concerts, plays, contemporary dance, author events, workshops, exhibitions and film screenings will all help to raise awareness about mental health issues.
This year, the festival focuses on growing up, exploring the road from childhood to adulthood.
Councillor Eileen McCartin, convener of Renfrewshire’s Community and Family Care Policy Board, said: “The aim of our events is to excite people, to move and amuse them but, most of all, to challenge their attitudes to mental health and get them talking about the issues we raise.
“Mental health is one of those subjects that people don’t like to talk about but there are very few of us who can say we haven’t felt really down at one time or another.
“This festival is about much more than being depressed. It is about the sheer power of music, feel-good films and thought-provoking drama.
“The Renfrewshire festival team has put together an incredibly varied and imaginative programme which entertains as much as it informs.”
The fun got under way last week when Laff Yer Heid Aff – an evening of comedy compered by Scott Agnew, winner of the Scottish Comedian of the Year Award 2008 – took place at Paisley Arts Centre.
And the festival programme continues today when Arsenic and Old Lace – a classic black comedy starring Cary Grant – is screened at the arts centre. The £4 admission fee includes a drink and a snack after the film.
Next up will be an informal evening with critically-acclaimed crime writer Karen Campbell.
Winner of the Best New Scottish Writer crown at the Scottish Variety Awards 2009, Karen will be reading from her most recent book After The Fire and exploring mental health issues in her work.
This free event takes place at Paisley Central Library on Wednesday, starting at 7pm, and refreshments will be served.
The Wynd Up drama group will get in on the act on Friday when they perform Shuggy The Paisley Millionaire.
This tale follows Shuggy as he wins the Lottery and discovers he has many old and ‘new’ friends – but can money buy him happiness?
Members of the Wynd Up group have experience of mental health issues and find confidence though drama.
You can see their show at the Wynd Centre, in School Wynd, Paisley, on Friday, October 22, from 10.30am to 11.30am. Admission is free.
The festival will be rounded off with a family ceilidh at St Mary’s Church Hall, in George Street, Paisley, on Friday, October 22, starting at 7.30pm.
Celine Donoghue and friends will perform traditional ceilidh songs, a selection of folk favourites and some pop tunes.
Adults and children are welcome to attend.
Soft drinks and snacks will be available and people can also bring their own alcohol.
Tickets are priced £4, with family tickets costing £10.
Call Reuben Millward on 0141 842 3421 or send an e-mail to email@example.com to book tickets.
A Festival Hub will be open at The Paisley Centre throughout the festival as an information space and workshop venue. There will be short lunchtime performances each day at 12.45pm.
Full details of the festival events are available at www.mhfestival.com
You can also pick up a programme from libraries, town halls and Paisley Arts Centre.