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Climate change and mental health arts project to provide a breath of fresh air

Article date - 27 November 2020

St Helens Borough Council’s Library Service, as part of its award-winning Cultural Hubs programme, has come together with innovative disability and Deaf arts organisation, DaDaFest, to present a free screening on climate change and being open about mental health.
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‘I was Naked, Smelling of Rain’ by Aidan Moesby is a thoughtful, provocative, fun, online theatre show which explores the relationship between inner and outer weather - in a world where climate change and mental health are two of the biggest crises we face.  
The performance - which is part of DaDaFest’s International Festival around the theme of ‘translations’ - will be introduced with a conversation with artist, Aidan Moesby and Producer, Holly Shuttleworth about the work and its wider context. Following the performance there will also be a live Q&A with the artist. 
Why is it easier to talk about the weather than it is to talk about how we’re really feeling?  
Explaining the idea behind the project, Aidan said: “Talking about the weather is often a way-in with a stranger - it's a safe start. These small human interactions are really important to our wellbeing. We also use the weather as a way of describing people and how we feel. You can have a ‘sunny personality’ or feel ‘under a cloud.’ 
“Using the weather can be a way of talking about emotions or what’s going on for us in a safe, one step removed kind of way that doesn’t scare people off. Naked, Smelling of Rain explores this in a human, engaging and sometimes humorous way. We all need to talk more about how we feel and not bottle it up, perhaps this can be a start - a way in.” 
Encouraging people to register to watch, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure, Libraries and Heritage, Councillor Anthony Burns, said:   
“As a council which has tabled motions on climate emergency, having recently agreed to create a new commission to tackle climate change  - together with the work we’re doing on mental health - I welcome projects like this which help us in our bid to raise awareness on these important subjects.  
“The arts are a great way of expressing feelings and emotions, linking in with everyday issues, and this event - given the strong talking points of both climate change and mental health - is certainly worth attending." 
The event is a starting point for a wider project that St He​lens Borough Council’s arts in libraries team is developing with Aidan on mental health and its connectivity to the weather and climate change.    
For more information and to book a place on this free screening on Tuesday 1 December, 7pm, please visit: www.dadafest.co.uk   
Registration for the live event closes at 10am on Tuesday 1 December. Following the live event, ‘I was Naked, Smelling of Rain’ will be publicly available to watch for 48 hours.
Both DaDaFest and St Helens Council’s Library Service are Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations funded through National Lottery funding.