St Barnabas Hospice brings “life-affirming” theatre performance to school children in Boston

St Barnabas Hospice encourages school children to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement with theatre performance

Last month, over 280 school children from the Boston area attended the theatre performance ‘Thrive.

St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice partnered Zest, a Lincoln based theatre company, to bring their latest performance to The Gliderdrome in Boston.

Thrive followed the journey of three young people whose lives were turned upside down by the sudden death of a friend. The audience were invited to join them as they worked through their pain, remembered the good (and bad) times, and ultimately grow from their experience.

Lisa Gibson, Community Development Manager for St Barnabas Hospice, said:

“Thrive is a bold piece of new writing that has been created especially for young people and explores how we can find hope in the face of adversity. This piece of theatre breaks the usual narrative to bring the audience into the performance for an immersive experience.”

Their performance at Boston was part of a national tour which will run from October 2016 until March 2017.

Lisa continued: “This performance is a wonderful way to get conversations started about dying, death and bereavement. These conversations aren’t always easy, but they could be the most important conversations you will ever have. In many ways, death and dying has become a modern day taboo with people actively avoiding their own mortality.

“A fundamental change in society to accept death as a part of the lifecycle will mean that when death does have an impact on our lives we will be better equipped to support each other.

“Open and honest conversations will also mean that more people are able to access the care and support they need, make the most of the time they have and have their end of life wishes met.”

St Barnabas Hospice held workshops within the schools following the performance in order to work through the subjects of dying, death and bereavement that were addressed within the performance.

Lisa said: “The feedback was fantastic with young people seeing theatre in a whole new way. The messages were powerful and people were clearly moved by the performance.

“In one of the performances where the character Raph became very upset two pupils ran onto the centre stage and gave him a hug, in another scene a party really came to life as pupils joined in the dancing.

“This is how immersive theatre works and it was great to see students really getting involved. For others their participation was quieter and more reflective which was incredibly heart-warming.”

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