Play based on experiences of Sunderland heart disease sufferers

Drama students Daniel Umpleby, Liam McGuiness, Gina Sutcliffe and Kit Shepherd, who were taking part in a presentation at the Sunderland Royal Hospital's Education Centre.

Drama students Daniel Umpleby, Liam McGuiness, Gina Sutcliffe and Kit Shepherd, who were taking part in a presentation at the Sunderland Royal Hospital's Education Centre.

0
Have your say

PERFORMANCE artists used the traumatic experiences of heart disease sufferers to create captivating new theatre.

The group performed at the Education Centre, in Sunderland Royal Hospital, in front of 40 people for members of Sunderland Cardiac Support Group (CSG).

The third-year Sunderland University students, who are studying towards drama degrees, created a piece of Verbatim Theatre, which is a style using just the words and stories of the people who are interviewed.

Liam McGuinnes, 21, who is part of the group, said: “Just after Christmas we were asked to take a module called Applied Theatre, which is all about taking theatre into the public and the Sunderland community.

“We spent a good few weeks talking to the members of the groups about heart attacks, and things like that, before rehearsing for the show.

“The stories they were willing to share are often quite hard-hitting.

“People hear of someone having a heart attack and think that’s the only thing that’s happened to that person.

“But it’s not just a heart attack, it affects people in difference ways and our performance was about making the unheard voices heard.”

Michael Roper, from Pennywell, who began suffering from heart problems in 1996, said: “They took the stories and our feelings from both myself and my wife Carol and members of the CSG and put them together in a quite extraordinary way.

“The performance is done with feeling, humour and understanding but, above all, respect for the events that occurred in individuals’ lives, both the heart patients and their families.

“What started off with statistics being bandied around soon evolved into a deeper understanding of how heart disease effects all walks of lives.”