Director: Mark Storor | Unicorn Theatre | London 2009

Babis Alexiadis & Mark Storor's animation of Opi's story

I am just home from a superb event organised by http://www.helium.ie/ at which UK artist Mark Storor presented a few examples his work (in partnership with Anna Ledgar, who couldn’t make it) with patients in various healthcare settings.

Check out http://annaledgard.com/ for more information on their work, particularly For the Best: http://annaledgard.com/?page_id=71 which tells the stories of children attending the hospital school on the Dialysis Unit of the Evelina Children’s Hospital. See Guardian article here >>>

It was great to see Eilís Hardiman (CEO) and Emma Curtis (medical director) of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board there – boding well for the future of that hospital; and also Mary O’Connor CEO of Children in Hospital Ireland. Dr Curtis was on the panel with Tony Fegan, Director at Rua Red the South Dublin Arts Centre where there will be a workshop with Mark (fluffy, mavarick) tomorrow facilitated by Helium (which I’m hoping to attend).

Mark’s talk (video linked to Waterford Healing Arts Trust) was very insightful – the detail of his projects to date with patients; some of the patients’ stories and experiences of the creative process and their reactions, thoughts, observations etc; the collaborative element of the work, both creatively and administratively. He spoke about how much he has learned himself, including the sense of “never stepping back from what the children are saying”, of being emboldened to carry their stories forward into the world without compromise because of their validity and importance.

Tony Fegan of Tallaght Community Arts, Mark Storor, and Dr Emma Curtis of National Paediatric Hospital (Photo: Martin McGhee)

What stood out particularly was the animated short by babis alexiadis, based on a story by a six year old boy, Opi, who suffers from chronic kidney disease, and directed by Mark. “He loved the feel of tissue paper … the softness … the crackling sound.” It is a beautifully powerful fable of human frailty and love, and a superb animation – the visuals, the sound effects, the music & the voice overs. I hope it becomes available more widely – I for one  think it has more than enough stand-alone potential.

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