First Fortnight is an arts festival that also aims to improve mental heath awareness and help remove the stigma associated with mental health issues in this country. It happens in the first weeks of January, a very suitable time of year when we’re all feeling a little bit under the weather mentally. 2013 will be the fourth year of the festival, which is run entirely by volunteers, and they have a very exciting programme prepared.
Unsurprisingly my top two picks from the programme are theatre but they also have a selection of films, including free shorts in Filmbase at lunchtime, Le Galaxie performing at the Button Factory, a panel discussion in Earlsfort Terrance (also free), The Therapy Sessions which are music and spoken word nights in The Workman’s Club and visual arts in Filmbase. There really is something for everyone and all of it either at a very affordable price or free!
However, the First Fortnight show that you really need to see is Fishamble’s production of Silent. This is Pat Kinevane’s one-man show that has been touring the country to critical acclaim for the last couple of years. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are in for a treat and if you have seen it, I wouldn’t be surprised if you feel it requires a second viewing or have a couple of people that you want to bring along this time around. That’s my plan and I’m sure that there a more than a few people out there who feel the same. It’s on for three nights in Smock Alley (in the Main Theatre, a space which I think will suit the show very well) so book your tickets soon. Get them as a gift for someone – despite being about homelessness, it’s actually a funny, uplifting show and Pat Kinevane’s performance is just wonderful! Go! Bring a friend, maybe someone along who doesn’t think like theatre, or someone who wants to see more plays in the new year.
First Fortnight also offers another chance to see Solpadeine is my Boyfriend in the New Theatre. I missed this when it was on in the Fringe earlier this year, though I did enjoy many of the Solpadeine mints that were part of it’s promotional campaign. I listened to it as a RTE radio play a little while ago and really loved the language and the way the story unfolded. It’s a wonderful fit with that First Fortnight are trying to do. I’ve heard great things from people who did manage to see the live show so I’m looking forward to it. It’s on early in the year – 2-5 January, so you’ll need to be on your toes to catch it!
Book a few shows for First Fortnight – it means you’ll have something to look forward to in the bleak first couple of weeks in January. And having things to look forward to is good for your mental health!