Today we’re super excited to release A Call to Care, the creative culmination of our recent collaboration with the Royal College of Nursing. We’ve been passionate at archipelago to hold on to the spark from our debut piece An Act of Care, as a call for us to better care for our amazing NHS and its workers. To protect and fight for it. Last year, we released An Act of Care (in response to right now) to highlight the impact of the pandemic through the facts of the situation and the imagined lens of An Act of Care character Sam.
Another year on, we wanted to take the work further and most significantly, give the platform of storytelling over to the nurses and care staff themselves. Working with the amazing writer and collaborator Zia Ahmed, over 4 weeks we had digital conversations with Royal College of Nursing members from across the UK about their practice, their joys, their fears and – unavoidably – the impact of the pandemic on their lives. Zia has beautifully crafted their verbatim text into this incredible script, voiced by the equally incredible Shreya Patel.
Going into this work in May we had no clue what the outcome would be, except that it would be digital theatre of some form. But in the first session, one of our nurse participants said to us ‘Nursing is really a bit like a dance’. So that was that decision made. Without any text yet ready, the unbelievably talented Zoe Katsilerou improvised a whole day of movement (of course this ended up being on the hottest day of the year making Zoe even more of a legend) captured by the incomparable filmmaker Pishdaad Modaressi Chahardehi (who was became like an equal dance partner, running/spinning around after Zoe across Bradford). Add a score by the genius that is our frequent collaborator Sean Ryan, and this quilt of different artists and stories became what it is now.
We can’t possibly sum up all the profound experiences shared with us, nor can we ever really try to articulate through our work how epic and important the work done by staff across care sector is. But we’re really proud of baring witness through this work. And we hope it calls you to care.