Tuesday 18 June 2019

Eclectic line-up planned for Cork's 'First Fortnight'

Two-week series of events aimed at using art and culture to tackle mental illness stigma

Spoken word artivist Alana Day Mulligan will be appearing in Cork under the auspices of the ‘First Fortnight’ festival 2019
Spoken word artivist Alana Day Mulligan will be appearing in Cork under the auspices of the ‘First Fortnight’ festival 2019
Poet/musician Fergus Costello will be appearing in Cork under the auspices of the ‘First Fortnight’ festival 2019

Bill Browne

Challenging the stigma of mental illness through the arts is the ethos behind a series of thought-provoking events taking place at venues across Cork over the next two weeks.

For the third year in succession Europe's mental health arts and culture festival 'First Fortnight' will return to Leeside, with a wide-ranging and diverse range of activities aimed at highlighting how we as a society address the issue and how as individuals we respond to the challenges that it poses. 

Founded in 2009 First Fortnight is a charity based organisation that challenges mental health prejudice though the arts, creating a space where people can discuss their personal issues in a non-judgemental manner.

Just as importantly, it gives people with mental health issues the opportunity to realise they are not alone through sharing the experiences of others and starting a conversation about how to address the stigma that stills surrounds the issue within many Irish communities. Once that conversation has begun, it hopes to change perceptions and create greater understanding about an issue that affects many people across society, with one-in-four experiencing a mental health problem at some stage during their lives. 

Since it was established back in 2009, First Fortnight has developed from a single event into a movement, with more than 150 events taking place at locations across the country during the first two-weeks of January. 

First Fortnight 2019 will see eight events taking place in Cork, with the programme featuring music, poetry, spoken word, film and even a get together for dog lovers.

It will kick off this Friday night at 5pm in the Kino on Washington Street with 'The Truth Is....' during which poet Stanley Notte will explain how he used his creativity as the foundation to recover from depression.  His direct and honest approach will offer listeners the opportunity to get inside the head of an unhappy man as he outlines his journey from diagnoses along the road to recovery. 

The following morning at 11.30am at the Sunday Market in Blackrock First Fortnight will team up with, Ireland's first and only dating and walks app for dog lovers to celebrate the mental health benefits of having a dog.

Next Monday evening The Hayloft Bar will host 'Ó Bhéal', an open-mic evening of poetry, storytelling and music curated by Dublin poet Stephen James Smith. 

The following Saturday will see two events at the Glucksman focussing on mental health within the classroom for both students and teachers. 

Later on that evening the popular 'Therapy Session' will return to the Crane Lane Theatre with an eclectic mix of music, poetry and spoken word featuring artist including six-time Munster slam champ and musician Fergus Costello, rising spoken word 'artivist' Alana Day Mulligan and award winning Scottish writer Kevin P Gildea. 

The award winning documentary 'Crazywise' will be screened at the Triskel Arts Centre the following night with First Fortnight 2019 drawing to a close on Friday, January 18 at the Kino with 'The Crossover', a multidisciplinary performance featuring local poets, rappers, musicians and visual artists. 

For a full break down of events over the festival and ticket information visit