Headspace at The Octagon Theatre

Our guest article today is brought to you by Headspace!headspace

Headspace is a creative project run by people who have personal experience of mental health problems for individuals who have faced similar difficulties. Headspace is a constituted community group and is governed by service users and carers.

The project, housed at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton aims to empower participants to become leaders, artists and peer role models.

Headspace feature creativity at the core of all its projects and aims to support participants to develop artistic skills as well as developing confidence, peer support networks and challenging stigma. Sessions are run by professional artists from across the North West.


The project breaks down into the following strands:

Creative Engagement

Headspace run weekly sessions in various art forms. These sessions are designed to introduce participants to a diverse array of art forms and enrich their experience of the arts. These have included animation, creative writing, stand-up comedy, upcycling, citizen journalism, film making, beatboxing and t-shirt design.

These sessions are run by professional artists from across the North West.

Leadership Training (broken up into 3 stages):

  1. This unique course offers a practical exploration of leadership skills and enables participants to plan, deliver and evaluate their own creative projects. It is designed to develop the skills needed to co-facilitate or run sessions, and also on techniques to work with groups of people and plan sessions.
  2. Participants can then opt onto a series of master classes where they will work alongside artists to develop and lead sessions in a chosen art form.  These have included: animation, creative writing, music, photography and mental health awareness.
  3. The sessions are then delivered to a wide range of organisations, including but not limited to Headspace itself, mental health wards, community venues, day units and supported living centres.


Bespoke Projects:

Increasingly, word-of-mouth is leading to organisations contacting Headspace to deliver specific projects. Examples include:

Interactive Children’s Story Projects

Using the Octagon’s festive show as a source of inspiration, the group creates a children’s story every year.

Participants work in groups of writers (story), musicians (soundscapes/theme songs), visual artists (illustrations and props) and performers (interactive story telling) to bring the Children’s Story to life.

The group of musicians and performers then showcase the story aided by the props to various schools, community groups and the children’s hospital.

salt pepper

Police Training Video

Greater Manchester Police, working in partnership with GMW NHS MH FT have requested Headspace to lead in developing an educational video on mental health; to enable police officers to be more confident in dealing with people experiencing distress appropriately.

Supported by artists in this field, participants with experience of mental health issues are developing the scripts, guiding the educational material and acting in the film.  Those with an interest in developing filming and directing skills will also be involved alongside a film company in developing these.


Live from Worktown – Bolton Poetry Festival

Headspace will be featuring their interactive children’s story Pepper Pot and the Quest for Salt Shaker to an adult audience.  This will be followed by Jackie Hagan.

(Wednesday 13 May at The Café at St George’s House, BL1 2DD at 8pm – free admission) 


Please feel free to contact Headspace via Vision using the form on the About Us page or simply email visionprojectbolton@gmail.com for details of how to get involved or access any of Headspace’s activities and work!


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