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Edinburgh show highlights stress among GPs

Viv Gordon performs in PreScribed (a life written for me)

Viv Gordon plays a GP in the Edinburgh show

Press release issued: 14 August 2017

PreScribed (a life written for me) opens in Edinburgh this week and explores the alarming statistic that one in five practising GPs suffer from chronic stress and anxiety.

The show draws on research by Dr Ruth Riley (Lecturer, University of Birmingham, previously University of Bristol) into barriers to help-seeking and facilitators to support for the estimated 13,000 UK GPs living with mental ill health. The project “Improving access to support” was led by Ruth Riley with research carried out by Dr Johanna Spiers at the University of Bristol.

Prescribed (a life written for me) is written by Viv Gordon and performed alongside Mandy Redmond. It tells the story of a GP nearing breaking point whilst working within the struggling NHS. This emotive show from performance artist Viv Gordon, who has lived experience of mental health, uses verbatim text from anonymised research interview transcripts, creating a powerful account of the one in five GPs who are currently suffering with chronic stress and anxiety.

The show is commissioned and co-produced by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute at the University of Bristol. The EBI is co-funded by the Wellcome Trust, with the aim of bringing together leading researchers from disparate fields to collaborate on solutions to the most pressing health problems of the 21st century. PreScribed was made possible by the support of the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.

Exeunt Magazine describes the show as:

“Alarmingly realistic. The GP in PreScribed is a fallible human being who, like the system, can only take so much before she really breaks.”

The show is running daily from Tuesday 15 August to Friday 25 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.

Further information

The show is directed by Tom Roden and Chris Fogg, with Music Consultancy and Original Composition by Thomas Johnson.  Design Consultancy by Bex Wood and Lighting Design by Will Monks. Based on original research conceived and led by University of Bristol researcher Ruth Riley with research carried out by Johanna Spiers.  It is produced by Sarah Blowers for Strike A Light and Georgia Bladon for Elizabeth Blackwell Institute.

Tuesday 15 – Friday 25 August 2017, 3.30pm
ZOO | Venue 124

140 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9RR
Performances: Daily 3.30pm (1 hour)
Tickets:                 £10 / £8 concessions
Box Office            0131 662 6892

Academic Research Papers

Johanna Spiers, Marta Buszewicz, Carolyn Chew-Graham, Clare Gerada, David Kessler, Nick Leggett, Chris Manning, Anna Taylor, Gail Thornton, and Ruth Riley (2017). What are the barriers, facilitators and survival strategies for GPs seeking treatment for distress? A qualitative study. BJGP (in Press)

Riley, R, Spiers, J, Buszewicz,M, Taylor, A.K, Thornton,G, Chew-Graham, C (2017). What are the Sources of Stress and Distress for General Practitioners Working in England? A Qualitative Study.  BMJ Open (in Press)

Spiers, J, Buszewicz, M, Chew-Graham, C, Gerada, C, Kessler, D, Leggett, N, Manning, C, Taylor, A, Thornton, G & Riley, R, 2016, ‘Who cares for the clinicians? The mental health crisis in the GP workforce’British Journal of General Practice, vol 66., pp. 344-345

Elizabeth Blackwell Institute

The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research (EBI), co-funded by the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol, brings together leading researchers from disparate fields to collaborate on solutions to the most pressing health problems of the 21st century.

The Institute aims to 'widen the gene pool' of health research by breaking down barriers between disciplines and encouraging new configurations of people, ideas and approaches. At the core of every EBI project is a mission to produce tangible outcomes that can be translated into clinical practice.

Viv Gordon

Viv Gordon is a performance artist & arts and mental health campaigner, who has written and created two shows both of which are touring in 2017.  I Am Joan is an autobiographical hopeful comedy about trauma recovery. PreScribed (a life written for me) explores the side effects of being a GP in the 21st Century. Viv campaigns for access and inclusion in the arts for artists, participants and audiences with mental health needs.  She is Artistic Director of Mean Feet Dance, an Associate artist with Strike a Light Festival, and an Agent for Change with Salisbury International Arts Festival 2017. Viv speaks at conferences and events about mental health inclusion in the arts, offers training and consultancy and works with individuals and organisations to develop arts and mental health projects. Twitter: @VivGordonMFD

Strike a Light

Sarah Blowers is the co-artistic director of Strike A Light. Strike A Light are based in Gloucester, producing and programming two contemporary theatre festivals a year in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre.  Strike A Light work with diverse and emerging artists through their associate artist scheme and deliver a year-round participation programme- Gloucester Rising. Strike A Light have just joined the Arts council’s national portfolio.

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