Let’s Talk About It!


SICK! Festival faces up to the complexities of mental and physical health. We present an outstanding international arts programme, weaving in perspectives from researchers, clinical practitioners, public health professionals, charities and those with lived experience of the issues we address. Themes are explored through many art forms – dance, theatre, film, spoken word – and through discussion and debate. We present and commission powerful, innovative and engaging work by artists from across Manchester, the UK and the world.  We take the conversation into the heart of the communities where the subjects matter most as well as major cultural venues.

SICK! Festival has grown and evolved since 2013, emerging from reflections on our own lives and the lives of people around us to embrace issues of wider significance for communities and deep importance for individuals. We are constantly guided by those communities and individuals, who ground our work in real-life experience, huge knowledge and immense understanding of the sensitivities of emotive issues. All too often these subjects are kept away from public view and debate. We exist to change that.

More about us

Our Team

Helen Medland

CEO/Artistic Director

Tim Harrison

Creative Director

Celia Makin-Bell

Executive Director

Zoe Martinez

Operations Manager

Steve Vickers

Creative Producer

Our Trustees

Rowena Burns

Chair of Manchester Science Partnerships and Health Innovation Manchester

Paul Ferry

Executive Chairman of gbpartnerships

Professor Sandeep Ranote

Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist Medical Director - Northwest Boroughs Healthcare NHSFT; GM CAMHS Clinical Lead; Visiting Professor in Mental Health - University of Salford & University of Chester

Duncan Craig

Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Survivors Manchester

Our Opportunities

New Trustees Wanted!

SICK! Festival is looking for new members to join its board of Trustees. We are looking to recruit at least four Trustees over the next twelve months.

We are particularly looking for:

  • Individuals with lived experience of the issues that we address
  • Those who live/work in the Moston and Harpurhey neighbourhoods of Manchester
  • At least one artist
  • Those who identify as disabled
  • Individuals from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds
  • Individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds
  • Individuals aged under 30.

To find out more about SICK! Festival, the role of its Trustees and how to apply, visit our dedicated page.

Closing date: Monday 14th December 2020 


Looking for mental health projects and commissions for SICK! Festival 2022

Open call: The Finnish Institute in collaboration with SICK! Festival will commission two new pieces of work dealing with key societal issues: one will focus on the complexities of mental health during the menopause and another focusing on mental health of young men in today’s society and the challenges they face.

The projects are to be realised in 2021–22 and will be presented as part of the next SICK! Festival in Manchester in March 2022. The selected project(s) will need to build a significant connection with a local community or communities in the Greater Manchester region. SICK! Festival will offer support for the development of the selected project(s) in terms of creative and dramaturgical guidance.

We want to work with artists who are Finnish or Finland-based, or be able to demonstrate a strong connection to Finland.

to find out more about this opportunity and how to apply, visit our dedicated page.

Closing date: 4pm, Monday 21st December

Keep up to date with any further opportunities and news by signing up to our mailing list using the link below.