Newman University CADLab awarded BBC Children in Need grant

Updated on: 14/07/2015

Newman University has secured a grant from BBC Children in Need to develop its Drama department's work in Applied Theatre and Wellbeing to improve the lives of young sick children in local hospitals.

Newman University has secured a grant from BBC Children in Need to develop its Drama department's work in Applied Theatre and Wellbeing to improve the lives of young sick children in local hospitals.

The grant, worth £49,349 over three years, will see the university’s CADLab (Community and Applied Drama laboratory) research centre bringing specially-developed drama performances to children’s bedsides while they are in hospital undergoing treatment.

The performances and arts activities will explore the impact of theatrical experience on children’s perception of illness and wellbeing in both healthcare and educational environments.

Dr Persephone Sextou, artistic director of CADLab and Reader in Applied Theatre at Newman University, commented: "CADLab works with sick children who experience physical illness and pain, emotional and social distress while in hospital or at school.

"A sick child's life is full of unpleasant experiences, from boredom and isolation to emotional and social disadvantages due to clinical stress.  This stress causes a lack of 'normality' in a child's life, which can affect their wellbeing and destabilise their recovery.

"Our new research project, supported by the BBC Children in Need grant, will allow us to develop an inter-disciplinary, multi-participatory production titled ‘Bird Island’, which will give these children access to drama performances and arts activities while they are undergoing treatment. The programme builds on the success of our current bedside theatre performances 'Breathing with Love' that aims to help children deal with stress and anxiety before and during treatment.

"The new programme will investigate further if bedside theatre in hospital can develop children's awareness about illness as an existential experience, while providing an opening to wellbeing and personal growth, as well as the possibility for creativity, positive change and normality."

The project is aimed at sick children aged four to nine years old and will be led by professional actors, musicians and artists with involvement from Newman University’s drama students and arts managers in hospitals. It includes storytelling workshops, bedside performances, post-performance art activities and exhibitions.

The project will start in 2016, in the West Midlands, before being rolled out to hospitals and schools in partnership with NHS Trusts and the Local Educational Authorities across the UK.

BBC Children in Need funding relies on the energy and commitment of thousands of fundraisers and supporters across the UK who donate their time and money to support the Appeal.  Whether it’s cake sales, wearing pyjamas to school or having a song and dance, every penny of the money raised goes towards supporting projects across the UK. £32.6 million was raised on Appeal night 2014 and BBC Children in Need have since announced that this total has risen to a record breaking £49.1 million.

All grants go to projects working with children and young people living in the UK who may be affected by homelessness, neglect, abuse or poverty, or those who have faced challenges in their lives such as serious illness, disabilities and psychological disorders.

Share this page share

Facebook Email