In Haunt

A festival that faSICK! Festivalces up to the complexities of mental and physical health and asks daring, difficult questions through an international arts programme – that’s SICK! Festival. It returns to a range of Greater Manchester venues from 18 September - 5 October 2019, with tickets for Week 1 (18-21 September) on sale now.

SICK! Festival also took place in Manchester in 2015 and 2017, bringing a range of people together to explore issues of life, death and everything in between. Known for involving unique, experimental artistic approaches and not shying away from dealing with difficult content, 2019’s festival takes the theme ‘What is the value of a human life?’.  This year’s programme explores the question from the perspectives of Disability, End-of-Life Care and Young People’s Mental Health.

Immersive visual installations, thought-provoking theatre and even the chance to take place in a Fevered Sleep ‘Grief Gathering’ are just some examples of 2019’s content. There will also be an exciting new Manchester shop for This Grief Thing from Fevered Sleep (see our article about it here), a temporary pop-up that encourages conversations about grief, death and loss.

 Here at HAUNT Manchester, we bring you some highlights to look forward to at Week 1 of SICK! Festival 2019 (18-21 September), bookable now…

Death and Birth in my Life

Death and Birth

A powerful video installation from artist Mats Staub, exploring experiences of death, grief and end-of-life care developed with staff from the Intensive Care Unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary. Come and consider the two key moments that we have in common – birth and death. Based at The Whitworth from 18 September – 5 October, the installations will be incorporated into a free exhibition aiming to open up intimate stories about care, health and loss, whilst considering ethical dilemmas in this area with honesty and warmth. Mats also shared his ideas at the Death and Performance symposium earlier this year in Salford, at the New Adelphi Theatre (University of Salford).

Graphic Encounters

Graphic Encounters

Colourful and compelling illustrated narratives will spring up across Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network as part of Graphic Encounters - revealing the experiences of women in Manchester. Challenges to health and wellbeing faced by these women will be explored in the artwork, which has been created by four artists in total: two from the UK and two from Finland. This project has been developed with Manchester Metropolitan University and the LGBT Foundation.

A Family Outing - 20 Years On

A Family Outing

A unique production by Ursula Martinez, ‘A Family Outing’ originally premiered in 1998 – a show that involved Martinez’ own mother and father, discussing relationships, familial life and more. Twenty years after she brought her parents onstage, Martinez now attempts to recreate the show without her Dad, and with a mother who can no longer remember her lines, having been diagnosed with early stage dementia. This recreation titled 'A Family Outing - 20 Years On' will take place at The Lowry in Salford on Wednesday 18 September, 8.30-9.30pm and is expected to be a warm, humorous show featuring interplay with the first production and reflecting to what happens to us over the course of time.

The Director

The Director

A dramatic performance featuring ex-funeral director, Scott Turnbull, and artist Lara Thoms, taking place in the STUN Studio (inside Z-arts, Hulme, Manchester) on 25 and 26 September. Together they aim to uncover elements of the death industry, bringing topics to the surface including bodies, burial and the processes involved. Blurring the roles of funeral director and theatre director, Thoms and Turnbull will share knowledge and create a show based on their own first-hand experiences of an industry that still remains relatively obscure for many people. Prepare to find out so much more about this crucial line of work and expect a funny, invigorating performance.

The above are just some examples of content that is part of Week 1 at SICK! Festival 2019. For the full range and tickets, visit the website:

By Emily Oldfield

Images from the SICK! Festival website




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