Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Gala for Mental Health returns

Felicity Ward, Chris Gethard and Susan Calman headline comedy event for Mental Health Foundation

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Gala for Mental Health returns

Felicity Ward

A mixed-bill gala from the Mental Health Foundation, which explores the funny side of mental health, is returning to the Edinburgh Fringe this August. A Gala for Mental Health, which had its inaugural year in 2015, is hosted once again by Felicity Ward, and features guests Chris Gethard, Susan Calman, Richard Gadd, and Martha McBrier.

Last year, Le Gateau Chocolat, Carl Donnelly, Paul Merton's Impro Chums, and Bryony Kimmings & Tim Grayburn were on the bill, but this year the lineup is entirely comedy-based.

Australian comedian Felicity Ward was a Festival hit last year with her show about anxiety and IBS, and this year her new Fringe show, 50% More Likely To Die covers similar anxiety-related ground (just less toilet-based). You'll probably recognise Chris Gethard from his turns on The Office and Parks and Rec, while you're likely to know Susan Calman as the face of Scottish comedy (along with The Boyle, and Limmy, and… oh, hunners).

Two slightly newer faces are Richard Gadd and Martha McBrier. Gadd's show last year went down a storm, and 2016's Monkey See Monkey Do, promises a fresh insight into mental illness in the modern age and perceived 'masculinity'. McBrier's show, Japanese Boy, tells the story of the time she took a group of mental health patients to compete in a pool tournament.

Tickets for the show, which takes place at 11pm on Wed 17 Aug, are on sale now. The gala has been programmed as part of the tenth year celebrations of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.

Andrew Eaton-Lewis, arts lead for the Mental Health Foundation and programmer of the annual gala show, said: 'It's striking how many more comedians are talking candidly about mental ill health at the Fringe this year. This is something we want to celebrate and encourage. Mental health is something everyone should feel able to talk about openly without shame or fear of discrimination or other negative consequences.

'All the performers in our gala show were invited because they are exploring mental health issues in their own work, in a way that is honest, unapologetic, disarming, inclusive, and most importantly, very funny.'

A Gala for Mental Health, Pleasance Ace Dome, 17 Aug, 11pm, £10.

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