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Menopause Bus Choir SICK! Festival 2022

Bus choir to tour Manchester raising awareness of the menopause

  • Female choir will tour north Manchester singing songs about the menopause
  • Domestic violence portraits to also be showcased across the Metrolink network
  • SICK! Festival to take place between 7-8 May

A choir is going on tour across north Manchester to raise awareness of the menopause.

SICK! Festival has teamed up with with Swiss organisation, Wild Wuchs, to connect menopausal women together through two respective choirs in Manchester and Switzerland.

Each choir will tour alongside one another across the same weekend both here in Manchester, and Zurich in Switzerland. 

Tim Harrison, lead producer at SICK!, told Northern Quota: “There are so many subjects that we’re better at talking about now than we were in the past.

“But the menopause seems to be one that’s never really become noticed.”

Women in each choir will be partnered to share experiences of the menopause.

The conversations will then be translated into songs by composers Tosin Akindele and Sibylle Aeberli, which the women will perform on tour in May.

Sibylle, who is leading the choir in Zurich, said: “It’s something very natural and I don’t understand why there’s such a stigma about it.  

“Tosin and I will be looking at what is both positive and negative from the conversations the women have with one another and produce songs covering both aspects.

“It will be interesting to see what we both come up with. I hope it will be quite funny in parts too.”

Founded in 2012, Tim and co-founder of SICK! Festival, Helen Medland, wanted to celebrate its 10th anniversary through a project highlighting the struggles of the ageing process, particularly among women.

“We really want it to be a conversation between women in Manchester and women in Switzerland who have gone through similar experiences," Tim said.

“Rather than just have them stand in a public space or a local venue. Let’s really shout about it, presenting it on top of a big, red, open top bus.”

Initially from Brighton, the duo chose to relocate to Manchester to make a difference to disadvantaged communities through the medium of art.

In 2020 they committed to working in Moston and Harpurhey over the next 10 years.

Tim said: “We have both suffered with mental health problems in our time and were interested in how we could bring a community together around a subject.

“We wanted to create a festival that could talk about the difficult stuff but in a way be celebratory.” 

Previous projects have included partnering with intensive care unit staff at Manchester Royal Infirmary to produce a video installation depicting experiences of end-of-life care and death.

This year the programme is expected to include a city centre installation outside central library to shine a light on domestic violence.

Tim said: “We’ll be working with photographer Allie Crewe, who has worked with survivors of domestic violence over the last year.

“Allie has produced these powerful photographic portraits which we’ll be displaying in light boxes outside the Central Library and across the Metrolink Network.”

Full details of the festival are expected to be published in the coming weeks.

The menopause bus choir will depart on its city centre tour on 7 May.

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