Stroke Recovery Opera - "I Look for the think" - #WorldStrokeDay

30 July 2021

Weather the Storm is a 45 minute opera collaboration between arts-in-health charity Rosetta Life and the Garsington Opera Adult Company. Weather the Storm is a new work by Orlando Gough with libretto by Lucinda Jarrett and Chris Rawlence drawn from the experiences of stroke survivors. The opera will be performed by a company of professional singers, stroke survivors, Adult Company members and NHS Health Professionals under the direction of Karen Gillingham.

Weather the Storm is a development of the short online opera I Look for the Think, which was first streamed in September 2020, and was itself a development of Hospital Passion Play, performed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in September 2017.Weather the Storm will be performed on the Garsington Opera stage at Wormsley on Friday 30 July 2021.

Performance will be followed by a Q&A with the cast hosted by Professor Nick Ward.

Weather the Storm tells the interwoven stories of three stroke survivors and their carers. One time multi-linguist Jawad, shot five times at close range in Iraq, escaped with his life to England, where a stroke left him without speech and unable to stand. Fernando was the flower king of Madeira, owning many of the island’s garden centres. Then he fell in love with Edilane, 20 years his junior, and she fell in love with him. They moved to England where Fernando suffered a devastating stroke. Primary school teacher Fiona whose passion for her work was cut short by her stroke, leaving her bereft of the thrill of Forest school with its the squelching boots, yelping, burnt marshmallows on sticks, sparks in the fire. The stories focus on the exhausting marathon of discovering a post-stroke identity; the gains and the setbacks; the effort of will required to regain speech and movement. And the vital role of the carer. 

The Garsington Adult Company are the chorus, who alternate the roles of NHS stroke staff, stroke survivor carers, family and friends. They will be joined by actual NHS Stroke staff, singing in their real-life roles. As in I Look for the Think, professional singers take the roles of the three main characters and their carers, shadowing the actual on-stage presence the stroke survivors and carers they play.

Friday 30 July