Bipolar – 18 October 2020

This show was streamed live on Facebook, if you would like to watch it back you can find it on our Facebook page.

What is it like to be on a creative high, to have boundless energy, heightened perceptions and to feel like you can do everything and anything? Do extreme highs enable people to access a whole new level of creativity? Van Gogh, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikowsky are oft quoted as great geniuses known to experience extreme mood swings. Waiting on the other side is a low that is capable of going as deep as it went high. Is that a price worth paying for the highs? These were some of the questions we were able to explore during the show through our the performances and discussions with the contributors.

DJ Mood Swing opening the show

DJ Mood Swing opened the show on a high with an energetic mini DJ set. The theme of the night was bipolar.

What a dynamic start to the evening…!

Jo Gering

We were delighted to have Giles Addison and his yodas back on the show. He performed two pieces from his collection of monologues, “Bipolar Illuminations”. The first, “Hypermania” is about being present in the experience of hypermania and the second is about schizoaffective disorder which is hearing voices. Not everyone with bipolar also has schizoaffective disorder.

Giles in his Yoda hat

Bravo Giles. That was classic.

Keith Winestein

Then it was time for the rapid DJ set, this time brought to us by Rob Stephenson, aka DJ Mood Swing.

Rob was diagnosed with bipolar aged 30 and is a mental health campaigner. In a state of hypermania Rob decided to do the Tour de France (3,500km), on a static bike and ride each day’s stage of the tour on the same day as the pros. He pulled it off!

Rob’s describes his DJ set as, “really erratic at the start, jumping around, then it starts to normalise and ends up in a period of acceptance and then joy in the last couple of tracks. This reminds me of coming to terms with my challenges, really erractic through to slowly gradually accepting and then rejoicing in who I am. Or, the other way of looking at it is 15 bangers crammed into 10-12 mins with a flavour of Afro and Tech house beats and some recognisable surprises”. You can listen to his set here.

Dancing in our living rooms to DJ Mood Swing’s rapid DJ set

This is making me really happy!

Wendy Gabriel

Rob gives him a score every day as to how he is feeling about his mental health each day and he has developed it into an app to connect with how they are feeling, it’s called FormScore and you can find it in app stores.

Following the DJ set we introduced post-punk poet Joshua Ross, following that high energy act Joshua announced he could “bring everyone down and give us the full bipolar experience”. Joshua performed two of his poems.

Joshua performing his poem

Thank you Joshua. Great to have you here and your powerful poetry.

Carolina Schmidtholstein

Leo performing “No Surprises”

The show was dedicated to Victor Prescott who, if he was still with us, would have undoubtedly performed at the show and would have probably kept us entertained into the early hours of the morning. Victor was the co-creator of The West End Frenchies and so we were delighted to have Leo join us from The West End Frenchies. Leo performed a cover of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” for Victor.

I love this track and wow sounding so good Leo

Jon Salmon

Our last act of the night brought to the stage Sandra Jayacodi. She has rapid cycling bipolar and psychosis.

Sandra performing her poem

So proud of you! Really moving to hear what you have gone through, such a strong woman.


Sandra recited a poem – a flow of emotions – called “Wash My Brain or Recalibrate”. She wrote it when she was in a period between a high and low, when she was angry and depressed and getting into a different cycle. Not many people see those sides of her because she is good at hiding what she feels.

Sandra you are great, never wash that or the loveliness out

Jonathan Tilley

Sandra’s performance and the insights she gave us about her experience of bipolar was a powerful way to end the show.

So wonderful to be a part of this again. Liz, Jon, Maria and all – you’re so warm and inspiring – thank you!

Giles Addison

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