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Tamasha Theatre Company Invites Actors To Share #NHSlove

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Tamasha Theatre Company Invites Actors To Share #NHSlove

Supported by the actors' union Equity, #NHSLove is an initiative launched by Tamasha theatre company to boost the morale of frontline NHS staff during the coronavirus crisis. Through Twitter and one hashtag, the aim is to send messages of LOVE to them via content they can dip into, whenever they can.

Actors are invited to record a monologue, speech or poem (1 - 3 minutes) on the theme of Love, and share with the hashtag #NHSLove @tamashatheatre, to give some love to the people putting themselves on the frontline to help save lives.

From Wednesday 15 April, #NHSLove pieces will begin to be shared, recorded by established and emerging actors. Recordings include a Biblical extract performed by Balvinder Sopal (currently playing Suki Panesar in EastEnders), and a comic speech from Love, Bombs and Apples by Hassan Abdulrazzak, performed by Royal Shakespeare Company lead actor Asif Khan (Tartuffe). Other actors have chosen speeches from a wide range of texts including plays by Chloë Moss and James Fritz, and poems by Wendy Cope, Rabindranath Tagore, and Hu Shih.

Actors are free to browse a selection of suggested texts curated by Tamasha, both classical and contemporary, or choose their own texts - so long as they are on the theme of Love. Collaborating closely with the artists the company supports, Tamasha is also inviting playwrights to submit new or existing texts and is able to link actors up with its directors to work remotely together in creating #NHSLove pieces.

Full details for how to take part can be found at www.tamasha.org.uk/nhslove

Fin Kennedy, Artistic Director, Tamasha: 'I was particularly moved by the experiences of one of our Tamasha Playwrights group, Shaan Sahota, who is also a junior doctor on the frontline of coronavirus critical care. She and her colleagues are bearing the brunt of this epidemic, and the theatre industry joins the rest of the country in applauding from our doorsteps their bravery and sacrifice. #NHSLove is one small way in which we can give something back while theatres are temporarily closed, and we hope will show how much we appreciate their work. Boris Johnson himself said the NHS is 'powered by love' so we are sending ours, in our own unique way, through beautiful texts and heartfelt performances, from some of the country's leading actors and writers.'

Nicholas Khan, actor: 'I am taking part because I have experienced the NHS's extraordinary care and support bringing our two children into this world, and more recently their tremendous all round care of my mother's fight against cancer. I chose my poem, by Rabindranath Tagore, as it proposes the idea of the birth of a child as a single new hope in the world. And who has the tender responsibility of bringing this child to us? The extraordinary NHS. They are the deliverers of new hope.'

Shaan Sahota, junior doctor: 'Working in the front line is an isolating experience - we can barely speak to each other through our layers of stifling PPE, and we've all had to give up physical touch for infection control. Working in ICU my patients are all unconscious and paralysed, their families can't visit, and I don't get to tell them we're doing everything we can for them. It's a very difficult disease to watch and live through. Watching just one disordered death is difficult; one person choking for air is heartbreaking, and that's all we're seeing. Your #NHSLove idea is just so sweet, a respite from sadness with a reminder of that connection we are so desperately missing right now. It's a lonely time to work in healthcare and I think everyone working in the NHS will be so warmed by the reminder that people see us and will appreciate such an uplifting love letter.'

Matt Hood, Assistant General Secretary, Equity: 'Equity is pleased to give its backing to this initiative from Tamasha theatre. We hope as many members as possible will be able to find time to take part and submit a piece of work to #NHSLove. In these challenging times it is so important that we show our gratitude and appreciation for the people at the sharp end of this crisis fighting to save lives on a daily basis.'


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