Celebrating the return of Headfunk

On Friday 19th November, International Men's Day, ZoieLogic Dance Theatre brought the sell-out return of Headfunk live to Southampton. Taking place at MAST Mayflower Studios, this was the third live annual Headfunk event, which was missed in 2020 due to Covid-19.

“So many powerful performances, so many important messages”

– Headfunk 2021 audience member
Nine teenage boys wearing white t-shirts, black face masks and trousers in various neutral tones are seen dancing on stage. They are facing each other in two groups - leaning back from each other. The stage is dark apart from a purple spotlight and a white spotlight with haze.
FuzzyLogic on stage at Headfunk 2021

What’s Headfunk all about?

Headfunk is a thought provoking and entertaining event, which aims to raise awareness of men’s mental health. Through years of experience we have seen first hand the life changing positive impact that creativity, dance and expression can have on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.

This year we focused on exploring themes of reconnection and bravery – and the wide range of ways bravery can manifest – in relation to men’s mental health.

Six white men in black trousers and blue sweatshirts are sitting on chairs in a row side by side. Their faces mostly cannot be seen behind newspapers they are holding up. On the newspapers there are various headlines about men and dancing e.g. 'man caught dancing, are men happy?'. The stage and blackdrop are black.
Headfunk Collective on stage at Headfunk 2021

What happened on the night?

The performers that took to the stage ranged from professional dance artists to local people who had never set foot on a stage in a theatre before. Aged between 5 and 72, each performer bravely took the opportunity to express themselves through movement and share their stories to inspire and embolden others to create safe spaces to talk openly about men’s mental health.

Headfunk would not have happened without the local partners we collaborated with who suported the Headfunk performers and audience on their Headfunk journey – Round About Cafe, Solent Mind, REgeneration, We Are Hummingbird, Artful Scribe.

The evening began with the opportunity for audiences to meet brilliant local health organisations – our partners – through a range of interactive activities around the building before finding their seat in the theatre. The main event for the featured dance performances created specifically for Headfunk, sharing inspiring personal journeys and community stories. Headfunk was MC’d by ZoieLogic collaborator Liam Gifford and Zoie Golding.

See the breakdown of the full programme with a bit about each performance here.

On stage with a black background, a group of children of different ethnicities, genders and ages in t-shirts and leggings in blue tones, are leaning towards an older white woman who is sitting on a stool and wearing a black top and black trousers. They are all holding up white squares near their faces - the squares have holes in the middle for them to look through, as if to frame their faces.
Roundabout Cafe performers on stage at Headfunk 2021.

Headfunk highlights at a glance

50 performers, from professional artists to those brand new to dance, took to the stage to tell their stories, reconnect with people and raise awareness of men’s mental health by sharing their experiences and emotions through dance.

“Last night’s Headfunk 2021 event got us thinking and talking about men’s mental health, mental health in general, and men’s dance. So many powerful performances, so many important messages.”

Joanne Fisher – Headfunk 2021 audience member

“Headfunk has really come of age as a project for ZLDT,  delivering powerful person-centered performances, supporting our participants and audience to be brave, try new things and be mindful of each other’s mental health.  The two words I continually hear to describe it are “indescribable” and “moving”.  Headfunk participants tell us they have “life changing” experiences with us and we want to enable more people to experience it to understand its potency and impact.”

Vicky Thornton – Executive Director at ZoieLogic Dance Theatre
A close up shot of three white teenage boys on stage dancing. They are have short brownish hair and are wearing white t-shirts and black face masks. The boy in the front is leaning forwards and staring intently. Those behind him are reaching their hands to his head and face mask, as if to pull him backwards and remove his mask. The background is black and there is soft multi coloured lighting shining on them.
FuzzyLogic on stage at Headfunk 2021.

This year 70% of those who performed on stage were men.

“I find it so powerful watching men dance, especially men who have never stepped foot on a stage before”

Leigh Johnstone – Headfunk 2021 audience member

“Headfunk has made me feel proud to be a man again”

Ian Hurst – Headfunk 2021 audience member

“The collective were so inspiring and uplifting and I loved the fact that these were men that could be my husband or my brother or a work colleague, not professional dancers, and they were so clearly enjoying themselves.” 

Julia Jaggard – Headfunk 2021 audience member
Six white men aged roughly in their thirties to their fifties stand on stage with a black backdrop. They stand in a semi circle, with one man in the centre. The man in the centre with gry hair and glasses is under a spotlight and reaching up his right hand towards the ceiling. The other men stand watching him. They are all wearing dark sweatshirts and trousers.
Headfunk Collective on stage at Headfunk 2021.

During the lead up to Headfunk we collaborated with 8 different groups of local communities and engaged with them for a total of 95 hours – where, together, we discussed male identity and mental health and used movement to express personal experiences.

“It’s a dream come true for me, to have a group of men to create dance with”

Neil Hanchett – Headfunk Collective performer

“I loved seeing the performers support each other, having never met until the show day, and how proud they all were of themselves and each other after the show.”

Zoie Golding – Artistic Director, ZoieLogic Dance Theatre
Six children stand on a black stage dancing. There is a mixture of girls and boys and different ethnicities and ages. They are wearing party dresses and a boy wears a sweatshirt which is inside out. They either have their arms stretched up or are doing a thumbs up. One girl is hiding behind another girl. A bond haired boy looks directly at the camera in the front of the shot.
Holyrood performers on stage at Headfunk 2021

What next?

Headfunk isn’t the only place we strive to create safe spaces for conversation about mental health – as our projects and works develop in the coming months, we will be revisiting the themes of Headfunk and continue to collaborate with our Headfunk partners and local communities.

To find out more about future creative opportunities and activities with ZoieLogic Dance Theatre sign up to TeamLogic on our website.

Tow white boys with brown hair, one with hair flopping over his face and one with a ponytail, are dancing on stage. There is a black backdrop they are underneath a spotlight which is making the black floor look blue beneath them. They are wearing trousers, t-shirts and hoodies in brown / neutral tones. One boy is kneeling on the floor in motion, the other is leaning back on the lower boy's back, also in motion.
FuzzyVision on stage in Headfunk 2021
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