A livestreamed event happening on the last Thursday of October looks set to be a diverse and interesting evening. Organised by Avant Cymru, a Valleys-based theatre company whose work bears a notable hip-hop influence, and forming part of the Green Ribbon Arts Festival, it features various artists from across Wales (and some further afield) coming together under the thematic umbrella of mental health.
Made possible thanks to funding from charity Mind, Hip Hop For Better Mental Health will feature rappers, DJs and a few other guests performing live breakdance and beatboxing as well as some story sharing. It is part of the Brighton Fringe line up, and features the likes of Cardiff-bred, Berkshire-based rapper Deyah, Jamey P of the Dope Biscuits trio, prodigiously talented beatboxer Hann, Tom Mandane [pictured] – a Portuguese MC, still in his teens and presenting a spoken word piece here – graffiti artist Tee2Sugars and Wrexham’s one-time Got To Dance star Thomas Hughes Lloyd pivoting to “hip-hop theatre”.
Mental health has affected the global population to a greater degree in 2020 than ever before, and opportunities for artists like these – regular citizens, albeit with ample skills – to share their individual stories feel increasingly vital. It shows how the artists have used hip-hop as a way of self-expression and how this, in turn, can help benefit one’s mental health. These artists desire to bring peace, love and unity to the community, with a sense of fun whilst doing it.
Respect, as well, to Avant Cymru, a forward-thinking theatre company with the desire to give people platforms to start conversations and in turn, reduce stress and build positive relationships and outlooks. Events that focus on such difficult issues – affecting people of all ages, yet often brushed under the conversational carpet – are to be encouraged. We could all do with some cheering up now, so why not tune in?
Happening from 7-8.30pm on the evening, and free once you’ve registered your viewing spot via Eventbrite, Avant Cymru are hoping this will be the first of many such events, with the best case scenario being able to pay the featured artists. To that end, donations towards future showcases are welcomed, though in no way obligatory.
Hip Hop For Better Mental Health, online, Thurs 29 Oct. Free to watch. Register here
words EMILY EDWARDS