International Health Humanities Network Impact Reports and Narrative

'Performing Bedside for Children in Hospital'

Short Description

Bedside Theatre for hosptialiszed children is a 2 year practice-based research developed within Newman University Drama Department, CADLab. It is being undertaken at Birmingham Children's Hospital, NHS Trust, on the impact of bedside theatre performance on hospitalised children's well-being. It examines the process of creating theatre for children who suffer from cancer and cardiac problems, connecting with the hospital and working within the hospital tight routines, dealing with ethics, working with theatre artists and performing to children bedside. It also reports on evidence collected by questionnaire and interviews about the perceived benefits of bedside theatre by children and their parent/carers. Evidence shows that Bedside Theatre can help children relax and hold hospital stress such as pre and post operative anxiety more lightly. It distracts children's mind from their illness and gives them something to discuss with their families. Theatre can do more than entertainment in hospital as it comforts children and their parents. Parents of children in the cancer ward appreciate Bedside Theatre as most suitable to the needs of the patients.

Full Impact Narrative

A brief overview of the project's impact:

Humanities: Bedside Theatre is a cross-disciplinary, knowledge-transfer project that involves academics from Drama and Social Studies, drama students, link nurses, leaders of play activities & patient satisfaction and hospital art managers. Bedside Theatre was nominated for the W. Midlands Arts, Health & Wellbeing Award 2012 and made the judge's shortlist in the 4 finalists.

Education: The project results have been disseminated to students and staff at the University of Birmingham (Psychiatry), Warwick University, the Central School of Speech and Drama and Birmingham City University aiming to encourage professionals in the humanities, arts, medicine and nursing to support the provision of theatre and its 'therapeutic potential' in hospitals. A presentation is scheduled at Nottingham University (Derby) in May 2013.

Health: Bedside Theatre is a complete research study that paved the way for a constant provision of theatre experience for children at BCH in W. Midlands. After the completion of a 2-year study, a refreshed version of the project with new cast and updated costumes and props is touring at BCH (cancer, cardiac wards) in 2013 with support from the W.A. Cadbury trust. This emphasis on the dramatic process including storytelling and the animation of soft toys is appropriate for theatre practitioners, arts therapists and nursing and hospital staff who work with hospitalised children.

Contact Information


Link to website: Newman Community & Applied Drama Lab (CADLab):

Link to publication:

Humanities Subjects

Health Care Areas


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