Digital film looks at future of healthcare

Published: 19 May 2023
Reporter: Steve Orme

Rhiannon Jones as Mish in Who Cares 2032

Northampton’s Royal and Derngate, site-specific and immersive theatre company Hydrocracker and Deafconnect, a charity in Northamptonshire that supports deaf people of all ages, are to present the première of Who Cares 2032.

This interactive digital film about the potential future of healthcare will be available at the Who Cares 2023 web site from Wednesday 31 May on a pay-what-you-can basis.

Written and performed by hearing and non-hearing practitioners and featuring members of Northampton’s deaf and hearing communities, the “solo experience” uses narration, film, audio, integrated BSL and audio description to explore the “complex emotional and ethical issues of our future health care, giving audiences the opportunity to reflect on and give their thoughts about what ‘care’ might look like in 10 years’ time”.

Commissioned by Royal and Derngate, the interactive digital work has been co-created by Jem Wall and Nathan Crossan-Smith. It is written by Chloe Todd-Fordham, Thea Gajic and Rebecca Saffir.

Crossan-Smith directs the Who Cares 2032 short film Mish and Graham as well as three monologues featuring members of Deafconnect.

Rhiannon Jones plays Mish and Jem Wall is Graham. Faith Omole is the voice of Anna and Jude Akuwudike is the voice of Oladipo.

Jo Gordon, Royal and Derngate’s chief executive, said, “we’re thrilled to have been able to work with Hydrocracker and Deafconnect to bring this thought-provoking project to fruition. With the involvement of members of the local community, both deaf and hearing, this is a truly collaborative creation. The resulting online experience is something that is only too relevant to us all in our current times.”

Jem Wall, Hydrocracker’s artistic director, added, “how we care for ourselves and the people around us has long been something Hydrocracker wanted to make work about. The impact of the COVID pandemic, the pressure on our overcrowded hospitals, the never-ending crisis in social care and doctors and nurses on strike meant that the need to make the work became urgent.

“We felt if we could take an audience to see an imagined future, they might feel reimagine what they might want for themselves and the people they care about.”

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