Wednesday 10th October: Liverpool Mental Health Festival Opening Night, 7.00pm – 11.30pm (Doors 6.00pm)
The Music Room, Philharmonic Hall, (corner of Myrtle Street/Sugnall Street; entrance on Sugnall Street)
Liverpool Mental Health Consortium presents their Festival Opening Night. Hosted by avant-garde performance artist, David Hoyle, this packed programme promises a smorgasbord of delights from a host of performers. This year, Liverpool Mental Health Consortium has been working in partnership with a number of Liverpool’s other great festivals, as part of our ‘Lunatic Fringe’ project – connecting communities and the arts in the pursuit of good mental health for all. Some of the acts represent these partnerships. Thanks to Africa Oyé, Healthy Souls, Liverpool Irish Festival, Liverpool Pride, Milapfest, SoulFest, and WoWfest for their support!


Programme (in order of appearance) 

  • Compere – David Hoyle
  • Liverpool Comhaltas
  • Bolger School of Irish Dancing
  • Kasai Masai
  • TranScripts Writers (Garnett (Ratte) Frost, Mina Albanese, Ruth Smart, Stephanie Gray)
  • Barbara Brownskirt
  • Mica Millar
  • Auntie Climax: Self-Help
  • Nachda Sansaar
  • Bring the Fire Project

David Hoyle
David Hoyle came to prominence in the 1990s as ‘The Divine David’, an anti-drag queen whose lacerating social commentary was offset by breath-taking self-recrimination and self-harm. Hoyle killed ‘The Divine David’ off during a spectacular show in 2000. He returned to TV in 2005 in Chris Morris’ ‘ Nathan Barley’ and began performing live again under his own name. The chances of serious injury now seemed greatly reduced, but Hoyle’s biting satire, bravura costumes, wicked comic timing and compelling charisma remained intact. He’s performed at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Soho Theatre, Chelsea Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, and Victoria and Albert Museum.
‘He is raw, sometimes a bit frightening, but also thrilling in his look-no-hands recklessness.’ (The Guardian)

Liverpool Comhaltas
Comhaltas is a cultural movement concerned with the promotion and preservation of the music, dance and language of Ireland. They focus on promoting cultural traditions as a living, highly visible and vibrant part of society, easily accessible to all, with their unique social, cultural and economic benefits fully realised by communities and individuals throughout the country and in Irish communities abroad. The Liverpool branch has been established since 1957 and were the Northern senior band champions in 2017.

Bolger School of Irish Dancing
The Bolger School of Irish Dancing was founded in the early 1960s by Mairin Bolger. Now led by Kathleen Cunningham, the School is, first and foremost, a cultural organisation which has its home in Liverpool Irish Centre. The school is dedicated to passing on an element of Irish culture to the younger members of the community, with the emphasis on having fun, exercise, working as a team, and improving self-esteem and confidence. Dancers take part in displays throughout the year, including Liverpool Irish Festival, and have danced on all the main stages in the city, including the Empire Theatre, the Philharmonic, the Town Hall and the Royal Court.

Kasai Masai
Kasai Masai’s music reflects their journey from the rural to urban, performing music passed on from generation to generation, combined with their own contemporary style. Written in Swahili, Lingala and Kimongo, their lyrics portray the cultural diversity of Congo, where more than 400 languages are spoken. Kasai Masai’s original compositions have moved beyond traditional expectations of Congolese music, including galloping rhythms, strong melodies, passionate beats, swinging guitars, and moving saxophone. Led by percussionist, singer and dancer Nickens Nkoso, a well-known figure on the world music circuit, Kasai Masai perform at many festivals, including Rain Forest Festival (Malaysia), Oman World Music Festival, World Music Festival (Bahrain), Clonmel Festival (Republic of Ireland), and World Music LX09 (Portugal)
‘Kasai Masai successfully marry a respect for vintage grooves with an overwhelming urge to move the dance floor. This is the sound of the old and new, of the countryside and the city, from deep in the heart of Africa…’ (Nige Tassell – Womad Festival)

TranScripts Writers (Garnett (Ratte) Frost, Mina Albanese, Ruth Smart, Stephanie Gray)
Liverpool Mental Health Consortium is pleased to present a selection of readings from our TranScripts project, which was aimed at developing writing by people from local trans communities. This innovative writing project was delivered in partnership with Writing on the Wall and led by course tutor Marjorie Morgan, writer-in-residence for Independent Liverpool Biennial and recently shortlisted for the prestigious Kenneth Branagh Award.

Barbara Brownskirt
Barbara Brownskirt is the poet-in-residence at the 197 bus stop, Croydon Road, Penge. To date, she has written 22 volumes of poetry and shows no sign of slowing down. Lack of success, loneliness and failure to acknowledge what failure looks like are major themes running through Barbara’s poetry, as well as her muse Judi Dench. Barbara is the construct of writer Karen McLeod, prize-winning novelist of ‘In Search of the Missing Eyelash’ and Writer-in-Residence at Bookseller Crow, Crystal Palace. She works with the performance art collaborative DUCKIE as well as touring the UK with Polari, the literary salon based at the London Southbank Centre.
‘Indefatigable, prolific and utterly unpublishable, Barbara is the manifestation of bitterness, anger, lesbian cliché railing against her lot. Barbara is rubbish, but she doesn’t know it.’ (VICE)

Mica Millar
A self-managed, independent artist, Mica Millar has quickly established herself as one of the Northwest’s most revered up-and-coming artists. The Soul power-house emerged in 2017 with her debut single ‘My Lover’. Since her debut, Mica has been invited to perform at the prestigious ILuvLive Soul showcase, BBC Children in Need, played headline shows at Band on The Wall, The Deaf Institute (Manchester) The Wardrobe (Leeds) and The Buyers Club and Leaf (Liverpool), and had Festival appearances including Manchester International Festival, Soundwave (Croatia), Congleton Jazz Festival, Dazzley and Velvet Badger Festival and Poynton Jazz Festival. Her debut album will be released in early 2019.
‘The term “The next big thing” gets bandied about a lot these days but listen to the staggering vocals of Mica Millar and you’ll find yourself uttering just that.’ (Manchester Evening News)

Auntie Climax (Brendan Curtis-Burton): Self Help
Brendan Curtis is a Liverpool-based chef, clown and artist. He produces and hosts ‘Eat Me and Preach!’, an alt-drag dinner cabaret; co-runs Bearded Child – a theatre company offering immersive dining experiences; and is a member of the School of the Damned. He likes long walks to the fridge, belly button inquiry and pistachio shells. With this piece, it’s time to go on a journey… To look DEEP inside yourself. Join us for a guided surgical meditation inside the body. Who knows what you’ll find?

Nachda Sansaar
Established in 1984, Nachda Sansaar are a Birmingham-based Bhangra Dance Group. With the support of one of the country’s most well-respected Punjabi folk music and dance artists, King G. Mall, by 1989, Nachda Sansaar were one of the most high-profile Bhangra Groups in the UK. The group’s belief that music and dance is a universal language that breaks down barriers and unites communities, is at the forefront of everything they do. They have had the pleasure of representing their culture, and the UK, at many prestigious events, including the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, the interval act at the Eurovision Song Contest, and numerous television programmes.

Bring the Fire Project
Bring the Fire Project (BTFP) is a Liverpool-based collective of fire dancers, circus skills teachers and flow arts promoters. The project was founded in 2012 by passionate people who decided to share their love of fire and light, performing with the world. BTFP gives you a chance to ‘set yourself on fire’ during fire dancing workshops or witness the beauty of fire in motion at Liverpool Fire Arts Festival. Their unforgettable shows are a fusion of traditional fire theatre (World in a City, Japanese Fire) and modern techniques, including light manipulation and projection mapping (The Alchemist).