The Performing Medicine season starts tomorrow, bringing together talent from The Clod Ensemble, Barts and The London School of Medicine and the Department of Drama at Queen Mary, University of London. There’s a programme of performances, conversations, workshops and a symposium looking at how the visual and performing arts can enhance and explore contemporary medical practice. It’s not just the effectiveness of the occasional sock puppet in the children’s ward that is being addresssed; the ongoing Performing Medicine project and this particular season is the Clod Ensemble’s effort to use the arts to engage the public in debates about contemporary medicine, and to help medical professinals understand and explore the work that they do in different, off-the-textbook ways.
Catching our eye is the intriguingly named performance by Lois Weaver What Tammy Needs to Know About Getting Old and Having Sex on 17 November in the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and a talk on the evolution of anatomical artwith artist Sarah Simblet on 4 December at the Wellcome Trust. Special mention goes to a talk by artists Bobby Baker and Kira O’Reilly on The Medical Gaze: detachment and empathy in medicine and art on 2 December at Tate Modern. While it sounds extremely high-brow, we know that Baker will keep it lively and interesting considering her previous performances wherein she runs a very enjoyable public psychotherapy session for a single frozen pea. And O’Reilly’s intense, sometimes clinical performances using her own body as medium as well as a residency with an Australian science institute make her a good authority on medicine in art and art in medicine.
Performing Medicine season at various venues, 30 October to 11 December. For more information, go to the Performing Medicine website
Image author’s own.