Writer and film and theatre director Jeremy Weller has created ‘Where it Hurts’; an hour long performance involving members of different communities from across Edinburgh and some former staff of the NHS and those currently training to work in the NHS. The current ambition is to stage the performance in a decommissioned ward space later in March or early April.

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The participants, all of whom have had life changing experiences from the NHS, have come together in a workshop setting to share their experiences of engaging with NHS services whilst exploring how those experiences of care have affected their health and wellbeing. The performance explores these people’s experiences of accessing help at the NHS.

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Scenes include real life examples of mental ill health, suicide, addiction, domestic violence, neglect, family breakdown, childhood trauma, isolation, illness, self harm and of often having no one to turn to accept the staff of the NHS. The performance explores why individuals chose to spend their lives caring for others. A common theme that emerged from this process is the fact that some of the people who came to the NHS seeking help actually returned to train as NHS staff, with the hope of somehow repaying the care and support they received in their time of need.

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The performances are deeply personal and extremely moving, questioning the idea of what ‘care’ is whilst exploring how those who most need it live complex lives and are often not able to say what it is that really affects them. The other major theme that is explored in the work is the incredible dedication and sacrifices that are made by NHS staff to help those in the community who are most in need of support.

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