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Archived Event 'Letters Home' by Operating Theatre

Key Event Information

Took place on: Thursday 4 June 2015

Grace is a single mother with a teenage daughter and a pair of twins. She’s just got divorced and the boiler’s on the blink. None of which is the main problem. The main problem is daughter Janie. Mel, Gracie’s best friend, says “Don’t worry. It’s just a phase she’s going through”. But Grace isn’t so sure. And what can she do if Janie won’t talk to her…

To say that Julia Darling was a founder member of Operating Theatre is not quite enough. In fact, it could more truthfully be said that she was the very reason for its existence. It was Julia Darling’s play Eating the Elephant about cancer that convinced Dr Dominic Slowie, then a lecturer in the Newcastle University Medical School, that drama could be a valuable tool in medical education.

Fourteen years later Letters Home is one of the four plays performed each year by Operating Theatre for Newcastle University medical students. Although written originally for Radio 4, the show works wonderfully well in live performance. After the play, the actors will return to the stage to be cross-questioned by the audience about themselves and their lives,  a technique known as ‘ hot-seating’ which is as much a part of the performance as the play.