London celebrations

Shout London festival gears up for national tour after successful debut

THE success of a new film and arts festival promoting good mental health will see it tour the country next year.

The first Shout London – The Ashford Place Mental Health Film & Arts Festival was held at Kiln Kilburn and The Crown in London last month, coinciding with World Mental Health Day.

Several events took place at both venues in front of large and critically acclaimed audiences.

Shout London boss and star of stage and screen Michelle Collins kicked off the festival with TV personality, model and actress Gail Porter, who also opened up to the public about all things mental health during a Fireside Chat event led by moderator Amanda Groom.

Elsewhere during the event, actress, singer, dancer and writer Maria Mcateer performed scenes from her hit play The Guinness Girl, accompanied by director and actress Karen Spicer with Jimmy Page on acoustic guitar.

Maria McAteer and Jimmy Page on the red carpet at the first Shout London festival

In association with What’s going on in your head? the Festival also held the first screening of Be The Light, Breaking the Stigma, which was directed and edited by Liz Smith and produced by mental health activist Jon Salmon, who attended the screening and stayed for a Q&A session with the audience.

The Festival ended with a star-studded red carpet gala.

Building on the success of the first Shout London, organizers have now confirmed dates for next year’s event of 9-10 October 2023.

The Festival, which prides itself on offering “an open conversation about mental health through the lens of film and the creative arts”, is also planning a national tour throughout 2023, with dates and locations to be confirmed.

This week, Ashford Place CEO Danny Maher, who worked closely with Carey Fitzgerald to develop Shout London, spoke about the success of their inaugural event.

“Shout London has been a wonderful platform to kick-start the mental health conversation,” he said.

“We have seen wonderful films, heard fascinating people, watched inspiring stage performances, all of which illuminate our thoughts and ambitions regarding our well-being.

“Now we will focus on bringing Shout London to a wider audience and together ensuring that mental health is a common topic of conversation, that we influence film and the arts so that they continue to be a platform for positive and healthy advocacy, and that people’s voices from across the country are at the forefront to support the well-being of all of us.

Amanda Groom and Gail Porter having a fireside chat during the festival at The Crown in Cricklewood in London

Encompassing film, music, theatre, dance and poetry, Shout London is organized by Silver Mountain Productions, who also act as sponsors, with company chief executive Carey Fitzgerald in place as festival director , Ronald de Neef as program director and Dominique Murphy-de Neef as marketing director.

Looking ahead to the 2023 national tour, Ms Fitzgerald is excited about the future of the festival.

“Our long-term plan is to make Shout London one of the most diverse cultural events on the calendar, encompassing an inclusive spectrum across all of the arts,” she said.

“By engaging with communities and forming collaborations, the festival aims to celebrate the artistic expression of people with experience of mental health issues, exploring the relationship between creativity and the mind, while promoting the positive mental health and well-being.”