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

Conor Powers

Marketing Manager

Zoe Martinez

Operations Coordinator

Steve Vickers

Creative Producer

Our Trustees

Jon Rouse

Chief Officer, Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership

Rowena Burns

Chair of Manchester Science Partnerships and Health Innovation Manchester

Paul Ferry

Executive Chairman of gbpartnerships

Liz Treacy

Solicitor and Monitoring Officer, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Our Opportunities

Are you between 16 – 19 years of age?

Are there things about your body you feel uncomfortable talking about? 

Body of Knowledge is a new performance work that explores all the different ways teenagers and adults talk about their bodies (including, pain, ageing, pleasure, grief, shame, sexuality, boundaries and consent.)

The work will involve the young person performers phoning in and speaking individually to a live audience in the theatre.

You will script the questions that you want to ask through a 2-day workshop process with lead artist Samara Hersch as well as rehearse the show. Throughout the performance, everything will be anonymous and you will never have to expose anything about yourself that you don’t feel comfortable.

Part of the performance may also include you performing a remote concert for the audience via speakerphone.

Samara Hersch is an artist, theatre director and educator from Melbourne. She graduated from DAS Theatre in Amsterdam. She has worked across main stages and independent theatre companies in Australia, including Back to Back Theatre, Ridiculusmus, Malthouse Theatre, Arts House and St Martins Youth Theatre. Her recent work, made together with Lara Thoms called: We All Know What’s Happening
won Best Contemporary and Experimental Performance at the 2018 Melbourne Green Room Awards and will tour to Zürcher Theater Spektakel and Noorderzon Festival in Summer 2019.


  • Available for the period of September 7th & 8th for a 2-day workshop process in Manchester followed by remote test performance of the show for an audience in Belgium in late September (date TBC).
  • For the Manchester rehearsal and performances on 3rd, 4th & 5th October 2019 at Z-Arts, Hulme.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please send an email to Steve@SICKfestival.com with the following:

  • 3 questions you would like to ask someone older
  •  A line about what you would like to get out of being part of the show

If you have any questions and would like to discuss it further, please send an email to steve@sickfestival.com or call 07929020131. Deadline for submissions is 26th August 2019.

We are looking for small scale performances, installations and interventions to form part of TAKEOVER, the finale of this year’s SICK! Festival on 05 October.

Occupying a range of spaces throughout Manchester’s legendary NIAMOS Centre, TAKEOVER confronts the recent YouGov statistic that 18% of young people in the UK believe ‘life is not really worth living’ and asks what does make life worth living for young people today. We are seeking bold, innovative works by young artists (under 30 years) that respond to this thematic.

From the grand auditorium to hidden studio spaces, TAKEOVER will present a vibrant evening of performances, provocations, artistic interventions and immersive experiences, developed in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University as part of the development of the Greater Manchester Living Youth Charter.

Submissions can be within any artistic format. They should have minimal tech requirements. Performances should last no longer than 15 minutes (unless they are interventions or durational pieces).

Fee: £200 (inclusive of all travel, accommodation and materials)

If you are interested in submitting your work for consideration please send an outline of the idea, the technical requirements and a summary of your artistic practice and experience (no more than 2 pages) to steve@SICKFestival.com

Deadline: Monday 2nd September