Image shown: Well Festival 2013. Photo by Keith Currams

In October this year, the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) will join forces with Garter Lane Arts Centre and Waterford Library Service to celebrate the health benefits of participation in the arts for everybody through the Well festival for arts and wellbeing. The festival will run from 3 – 10 October 2016 and is funded by Waterford City and County Council.

This week long festival, which links to World Mental Health Day on the 10 October, will feature a range of daily colourful spectacles and arts experiences with a healthy angle in the foyer of University Hospital Waterford (UHW) and throughout Waterford City and County. For example the festival will light up the dark October nights with a special colour filled installation supplied by Spraoi at the back of UHW for the delight of hospital patients and their visitors. It will feature a special performance by The Happiness Ensemble all the way from West Cork which grew out of singer/songwriter Peter Fitzpatrick’s battle with mental health issues. It will feature a special installation of mobile artworks and sounds inspired by nature created by mental health service users who participate in WHAT’s art and mental health programme. A group of dancers all with Down Syndrome called Traces Dance Ensemble will celebrate their own identity through contemporary dance in a special performance in the foyer of UHW. We haven’t had an earthquake lately… will celebrate the health benefits of reading whereby Waterfordians will share their own feelgood piece of poem or piece of prose in a public event in The Book Centre, Waterford. In the light of the extensive research that exists around the physical, emotional, psychological and social benefits of music and in particular choral singing, on World Mental Health Day The Bealtaine Choir, a choir of older people living in Waterford who have taken up singing for the first time in recent years, will come together with The Samaritans Choir to rejoice in the power of singing.

Further information to follow. The full festival programme will be launched on 13 September in Garter Lane Arts Centre at 11am.


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