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Former nurse to perform at V&A in stroke survivor choir

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Ex nurse Pauline Boye and other stroke survivors will join artists on stage at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the autumn for an event to promote the rehabilitation of people with brain and spinal injuries.

Hospital Passion Plays is a new opera written by Orlando Gough, which is intended to show that there is a life after traumatic injury, offering visibility and agency to those who have been touched by it.

“It gives us confidence to get out and do things for ourselves”

Pauline Boye

The free concert is part of health charity Rosetta Life’s project Stroke Odysseys, which started in Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland in 2013, before coming to London.

The three-year project aims to help people living with the debilitating long-term effects of a stroke or brain injury, and is a partnership between health professionals and artists.

Ms Boye, who previously worked full time in adult nursing in London and Belfast, will be performing at the event as part of the Lambeth Stroke Choir.

The South London choir will be joined by Shout at Cancer – a vocal group that helps throat cancer patients who have had their voice boxes removed – and the Garsington Adult Community Chorus.

The event at the Victoria and Albert Museum will feature 70 performers in total and will also include films made at hospitals across London and Buckinghamshire.

“Reconnecting to our bodies, our voices and our stories enables us to remember who we are2

Lucinda Jarrett

Ms Boye, who originally from Nigeria, said the Stroke Odysseys project had been hugely beneficial for her since she one of the first to join it in 2015, following her own stroke.

“[After having a stroke] you need to go out, find new people, mix with them. Not stay on your own,” she said. “The more you stay indoors, the more you feel another stroke is coming.

“Project workers give us motivation to live and hope. It gives us confidence to get out and do things for ourselves,” she added.

Now, as a facilitator for the project herself, she visits hospital wards to meet patients who have recently had a stroke. Together, they practice movement exercises and sing accompanying songs.

Lucinda Jarrett, atistic director at Rosetta Life, said: “Hospital Passion Play is an amazing opportunity for people to recover their identity through performance after losing it after brain or spinal injury.

Royal College of Physicians

Dr Anthony Rudd

Tony Rudd

“Reconnecting to our bodies, our voices and our stories enables us to remember who we are and find ourselves again in the crowd,” she said.

The Stroke Odysseys project has the support of Professor Tony Rudd, the national clinical director for stroke at NHS England.

The stroke tsar highlighted that patients who have had a stroke can experience low self-esteem and confidence.

“There are relatively few interventions that we have for people living with stroke to address some of the psychological complications that arise,” he said.

“It would seem to be that this is potentially an intervention that could potentially be developed and used widely at relatively low cost and potentially great benefit,” he added.

Event information

Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL

Sat 14th October, 2.30pm


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