The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Archive Index Home
Mar. 14, 2016
Presenter  Topics
SICK!, the Festival that links the medical and art worlds, presents SICK! LAB with a program of experimental works (Mar. 9 – 12, 2016)
This SICK! Festival was launched in 2013 as a cross art-form festival dedicated to exploring the medical, mental and social challenges of life and death from an artistic approach. The director is Helen Medland, who changed professions after a career as a nurse to become and arts producer. Since its founding, the festival has been held biennially on odd-numbered years. On even-numbered years a four-day SICK! LAB event has been held with a program of more experimental performance along with discussions, collaborations and more.
The focuses of the 2016 SICK! LAB are the themes of Identity and Trauma in a program bringing artists, scholars and people from the medical profession together with Manchester’s Contact Theatre as its venue. Discussion will focus on questions such as why it is painful when people feel they are alone, what people gain and what they lose from social interaction, and why we still cling to the conservative frameworks of religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality and gender.
In one of the scheduled works, Fake it till you make it, London-based performance artist Bryony Kimmings explores how different the world she lives in as an artist who ‘tries to make the world a better place’ and the one that her partner, who ‘calculates the world’ in his job as an accountant, lives in; and why there is such a high rate of clinical depression among accountants in Britain. In another work on the program, You are Not Alone, Sheffield, UK-based comedian and performing artist Kim Nobel takes a sometimes comical look at the ways that the contemporary affliction of ‘loneliness’ plays such a powerful role in undermining people’s lives in society today.
Also on the program are lectures and discussions with speakers including University of Manchester professors Anthony Redmond of the Department of International Emergency Medicine and James Thompson of the School of Arts, Language and Cultures, who researches theater in areas of war or natural disasters, Prof. Bobbie Farsides of the Department of Bioethics of University of Essex, and others.

Festival Outline
The biennial SICK! Festival was launched in 2013 as the first festival of its kind in the UK dedicated to exploring the medical, mental and social challenges of life and death. It presents a cross art-form program featuring theatre, dance, film, public installations and debates, etc. The Festival is delivered in partnership with leading arts organizations, medical and academic institutions, charities and community groups. The artistic director is Helen Medland, founder of The Basement, which for more than 20 years has played an important role as a space for experimentart in Brighton. Drawing on her experience as a former practicing nurse, Medlandfounded SICK! As a festival bringing connecting medicine and the arts. The next SICK! Festival will be held in March 2017. The 2016 SICK! Lab is titled “What Doesn’t Kill Us...” and presents a four-day program including performances by artists Kim Nobel and Bryony Kimmings and others along with lectures and discussions by leading professionals in the medical world and academia.
+ SICK! Festival