Unlike most productions at the fringe, Where It Hurts is an authentic piece performed entirely by non-actors, directed – or perhaps curated – by Jeremy Weller. An examination of NHS care by a cast of both patients and staff, these raw and honest personal experiences remind us of just how vital our NHS is, and how close we are to it being lost.

Grassmarket Projects provide support and a platform for people to examine their own lived-experiences, working specifically with untrained performers to create work which explores positive social change. These are real people sharing their real stories, and that is incredibly powerful and affecting. As each of the cast bares their soul, speaking of addiction, mental ill health, the loss of loved ones and more, the audience is challenged to think of their own interactions and relationship with the health service. From cradle to grave there is always an open door if you need it. At least for now.

The story that runs throughout, and gives the piece shape, is that of Steven, a psychiatric nurse from an entire family of NHS staff. As he progresses through his ten years of service, he notices a shift in attitudes, including his own, which will be uncomfortably familiar to any who have worked in healthcare. Eventually suffering burnout and ending up admitted to the hospital he works in, Steven truly sees things from the other side.

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