Wednesday 2nd October 2019

What is A Madlove Take Over?

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Take Over is our annual festival that reimagines public spaces through art projects made with, for and about people in St Helens. This year we’ve invited artist and mental health activist the vacuum cleaner (aka James Leadbitter) to take over a vast empty shop and create a space for art, conversation and care. 

From 1-30 November, the vacuum cleaner is inviting us to be part of a Madlove’ Take Over. Together , we’re bringing 13 local, national and international artists and communities together to make exhibitions, films and new performances for this pop-up space in central St Helens – all aimed at supporting people’s mental health. You can find out more about this pop-up space here

Many of the artists and groups involved have struggled with their own mental health and now create amazing projects that try to help us care for ourselves and each other. Joining us for the Madlove Take Over will be:

– Acclaimed Indonesian artist and activist, Hana Madness, who will cover the town in colourful bipolar monsters

– Perrier Award-winning comedian, Kim Noble, will present his attempts to end his loneliness. 

– Local artist Hwa Young Jung is having conversations across the town to create a map of all the places in St Helens where you can experience care – from the friendly person working at the chippy to formal mental health support services. 

– Writer, artist and part-time superhero Jess Thom, aka touretteshero, whose comedy show  Stand Up, Sit Down, Roll Over proves it is possible to be both the most persistent heckler as well as the main act, and will open the festival on Friday November 1st 2019. 

About Take Over
Take Over is our annual festival that reimagines the potential for public spaces through art projects made with, for and about people in St Helens. This year we’re building on Heart of Glass’ long-term programme of work which critically examines the structures which frame, inform and produce our experiences of mental distress. This programme includes major collaborative commission The Suicide Chronicles, led by artist Mark Storor, the first part of which features in this year’s festival. We are excited and honoured to be working with James, along with all of the artists, community groups and organisations in the creation of something very special for a Madlove Take Over.

A Madlove Take Over is curated and produced by Heart of Glass, the vacuum cleaner and Mary Osborn (Artsadmin) with the support and collaboration of individuals, organisations and communities across St Helens. The Madlove environment is designed and produced by Sascha Gilmour and the vacuum cleaner’s team. 

About Madlove

“It ain’t no bad thing to need a safe place to go mad. The problem is that a lot of mental health hospitals are more punishment than love… they need some Madlove”

Is it possible to go mad in a positive way? How would you create a safe place in which to do so? If you designed your own asylum, what would it be like? Madlove is artist the vacuum cleaner’s ongoing project about creating positive spaces to experience mental distress… and enlightenment. The project is bringing together people with and without mental health experiences, mental health professionals and academics, artists and designers – and everyone else on the spectrum. 


Samaritans: 116123 A safe place for you to talk anytime (24h, free).

Papyrus: 0800 068 41 41 Prevention of Young Suicide (free & confidential).

AMPARO: 0330 088 9255 Support for anyone affected by suspected or actual suicide.

Shout: text 85258 The UK’s first text support for anyone in crises, anywhere, anytime.


Suicide Prevention Available on Google Play and Apple App Store now.

Stay Alive App Packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in a crisis.

Calm Harm App Tasks, information & support to help you resist the urge to self-harm.