The History Of A Flourishing Relationship Between Drama and St Richard’s Hospice

Building on the fantastic fundraising which RGS does for St Richard’s Hospice with activities such as the ‘Flourishing Fivers’ and ‘Worcester Stands Tall’, the Drama Department has been developing this partnership in a more creative manner over the past four years with the Hospice’s Family Support Service, under the guidance of Sarah Popplestone-Helm. What started out as stimulus for a GCSE Drama devised assessment, has now become a significant project.

In 2015, Year Eleven pupils devised a piece of theatre called ‘Coping’ having visited the Hospice in 2014 as a class of Year Tens. This was followed up in 2016 with ‘Empty Shadows’. Both of these pieces explored how school and teenagers look at the work of St Richard’s Hospice and how we discuss loss and cope with bereavement. As a result, St Richard’s asked if ‘Empty Shadows’ could be turned into a film. Over the course of one day, the directors, devisers and cast of ‘Empty Shadows’, along with Mr Morgan, went and re-worked their 50 minute performance for film. It was filmed on location at the Hospice. It was then shared in its entirety at the Worcestershire Palliative Care Conference at Worcester Arena in July 2017 which was then followed by a Q&A session with Mr Morgan and one of the cast, Martyn Forrester. On 22 November four extracts were also shared at the Hospice UK Conference Leading, Learning and Innovating at the ACC Liverpool, where it was co-presented by St Richard’s and RGS Worcester as well as an abstract article being published in the British Medical Journal for Supportive & Palliative Care.

It is due to the willingness of staff and students that a project such as this has been able to grow from strength to strength, where next year’s Year Eleven will also look at developing this partnership further creating a piece of theatre which affects lives and explores difficult topics. For us no project embodies the school motto more than this. ‘Respice et Prospice’. (Cherish the past and look to the future).

A special thanks needs to be offered to Mrs Margaret Sturdy, as without her this creative partnership would not have been able to be formed. Thank you, Margaret.

For more information check out the Hay Festival website