Festival tackles heavy issues with film, dance and debates

SICK! Festival 2014 rolls into Brighton venues with a line-up including Ruby Wax, Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy), Gob Squad and Kim Noble from March 3-29 (www.sickfestival.com).

Lucy Brooks, festival coordinator, said: “SICK! is a new art and cultural festival which confronts the physical, mental and social challenges of life and death. Tackling issues surrounding adolescence, mental illness, ageing and death, the festival offers an international programme throughout March, with live performances, dance, installation, film and debates across Brighton.

“Comedian, writer and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax performs Sane New World to open SICK! Festival (March 3, Brighton Dome Corn Exchange). It follows Ruby’s personal experience of depression and her MA from Oxford University in Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

“Award winning international comedian and TV personality, Kim Noble combines the comedy and artistic film worlds in You’re Not Alone, a performance that chronicles one lonely man’s attempts at connection.

“In May is a live musical performance addressing the end of one man’s life. It is based on letters from a son to a father and is set to live music, created by Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy). The strength and vulnerability of the human body is celebrated in the UK premiere of Journey, a dance choreographed and performed by 32-year-old Koen De Preter with 88-year-old professional dancer Alphea Pouget. Co-presented with South East Dance, the performance is followed by Healthy Ageing, a discussion with professor of human and applied physiology Stephen Harridge and the dancers.”

Lucy added: “Throughout the SICK! Festival, four patients’ stories and the experience of their doctors will be amplified in Stories From The Front Line in Jubilee Square. A large-scale light-box installation will show comic strips from four graphic comic artists, including ILYA, Woodrow Phoenix, Nicola Streeten and Ian Williams.”

Lucy added: “After more than 100 international performances, the final show of Gob Squad’s Before Your Very Eyes, presents seven children (eight to 14 years) peering into the future of themselves as adults, as they prepare to leave childhood.”

Helen Medland, artistic director at The Basement, said: “Being sick is a universal thing that everyone experiences at some point in their lives and connects us all as human beings.

“The SICK! Festival is about shining a light on those serious mental and physical health issues, which too often remain hidden and under the radar. Underlying the SICK! Festival is a desire to help inform and open minds, share experiences, but also bring humour to those dark periods of life. We want to celebrate the survival of human life, individual resilience and the social bonds that keep us going through this incredible array of highly personal performances, art and discussions.”