Beggars theatre give ‘Sick’ performance to kids

The Beggars Theatre recently teamed up with the Millom Alliance to give a comedy production called ‘Sick’ to local school children about how to use NHS services properly.

As well as stories and songs the actors used interactive games to engage with the audience, made up mainly of local school children. They included bringing youngsters onto the stage and asking them to decide if an illness was a ‘big sick’ (when an ambulance needs called)  or a little sick (something that can be treated at home – a cold).

The show also concentrated on how to maintain good health through physical activity, healthy eating and preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria.

Teacher at Thwaites Primary School, Colleen Oldham, said:

‘This was a fantastic and engaging experience for all of our junior children, teaching them about the importance of our NHS. The actors were very funny and our children clearly enjoyed themselves very much. Thank you.’

The show was commissioned by the Millom Alliance - the local NHS working together, and was written and performed by Jakki Moore from the Beggars Theatre and Gary Bridgens from the headzuptheatre group at the Beggars theatre in Millom.

Gary Bridgens said:

‘Children hate being preached at. If we are to reach them with message based educative lifestyle suggestions it must be engaging and fun. Delivering this information in a fun way that involves audience participation is so much more real and relevant compared to handing out pamphlets.’

The feedback from some of the children showed how using comedy really helped get the message across:

‘It was very funny and nice to come’.

“It was funny and we learnt lots’

Dr John Howarth from Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust said:

“Over 600 children, teachers and parents have taken part in our health action week all designed to make sure we use the right NHS services at the right time. We know there has been incredible pressure on the NHS recently especially in our general practices and A&E units and that some people could have used other services than A&E. If we teach our children now what the most appropriate services are for their needs then this will last a lifetime. This production was outstanding and I’d like to thank Jakki and Gary plus all the schools involved.”

Actress Jakki Moore, from The Beggars Theatre said:

‘It was a pleasure to bring the arts to the NHS to highlight these issues. It was fantastic fun to perform to great audiences.’

Paul Grout, Clinical Director for Acute Medicine, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust said:

“This is excellent for Millom and we’re pleased that the play had such a fantastic reception. Engaging the children through fun is a great way to get important health messages over to children and subsequently their families.”

The children left the theatre singing the catchy songs from the show reiterating the effectiveness of sending out information in this way.