Powerful new arts collaboration brings a lived experience of stroke to the stage

29 Oct 2018 13:51:34.850

Stroke survivors are turning their experience of the potentially devastating effects of stroke into performance art at Lakeside Arts on University Park in Nottingham. 

The unique performance at 7.30pm on Thursday 8th November is called Stroke Odysseys and is part of a national tour involving arts and health professionals and survivors of stroke. 

The production is a daring movement, speech, song and dance project produced by Rosetta Life, an organisation that is pioneering the use of the arts in healthcare. Choreographer Ben Duke and composer Orlando Gough have collaborated with medical professionals and patients to create this poignant and moving visual and aural creative presentation that offers a window into life after stroke or brain injury.

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Professor of Stroke Rehabilitation at the University of Nottingham, Marion Walker, said: “There are around 100,000 new strokes in the UK each year. It’s the third largest cause of death and the main cause of disability in the community. Stroke impacts on families and friends as well as the individuals themselves. Much research has concentrated on better acute medical treatments, however Nottingham is recognized worldwide as a centre of excellence for rehabilitation research ensuring stroke survivors make a maximal recovery and lead as full and meaningful life as possible. This performance is a prime example of how the arts can provide another avenue for recovery and adaptation to living with the effects of stroke. Music, drama, movement and dance as well as the spoken word can offer participants and audiences new ways to express experiences and empathise with life-changing disability.”

In Stroke Odysseys, stroke survivors perform alongside professional musicians, singers and dancers to tell their stories: of who they are, who they were, and the journey they are on. Often the participants are suffering from severe depression or anxiety and the performance helps them to recover their identities and find purpose again. 

Choreographer Ben Duke said: “I am interested in how to bring the stories of the people I am working with onto the stage. This may or may not involve a literal telling of their story, but it will involve a searching for what the stories are that define us, and how do we find a way to share those stories so that other people will really hear them. The piece will follow very loosely the idea of an odyssey and will look at how any sense of a destination, of arriving at an identity, is an illusion and that we are all constantly moving. The show is about the very human struggle to understand who we are, and whether as we lose bits of ourselves the answer to that questions seems closer or further away.”

Hospital patients who have experienced a traumatic brain injury experience the severe loss of confidence and self-esteem that comes with an altered capacity to move, speak and express themselves. Participation in the project allows stroke patients to make remarkable progress in the long process or rehabilitating, speech, movement, confidence, sense of self and agency in the world.  The suggestion is that exploring one’s creativity on the journey of stroke recovery can have a remarkable impact on the brain’s healing process. Stroke Odysseys is being developed to be widely replicated and used.

The need for Stroke Odysseys has been identified by a wide network of clinicians, health care practitioners, patients and family members who are guiding the direction of the project through a series of practice research workshops.  Following the project, a clinical evaluation report will be released to assess its effectiveness and make recommendations for future implementation.

Tickets for the Stroke Odysseys performance at Lakeside Arts are available here.

For a window on the project to date visit www.strokeodysseys.org

@rosettalife | #strokeodysseys 

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Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


Story credits

More information is available from Mária Konyelicska, Marketing and Communications Manager at Lakeside Arts on +44 (0)115 748 4155 email Maria.Konyelicska@nottingham.ac.uk

Emma Rayner - Media Relations Manager

Email: emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 74 84413  Location: University Park

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