Welcome to our newsletter
A huge thanks to all the ambassadors for Odysseys Presents on Wednesday 5 May. It was a really inventive afternoon, featuring poetry, dance, song and two animations, one commissioned by Jen and generously created by Katya and the second animation was created by Sonia, an ambassador who is also a talented storyteller, painter and animator.
It was wonderful to witness the conversations sparked by each event, particularly the ideas around sharing creative art work with medical students to share your lived experience of stroke and brain injury.
It was great to welcome new ambassadors from London to the audience and we are delighted that a new ambassadors’ training programme is about to start.
As the Summer dawns and lockdown eases, I hope we will all feel comfortable meeting in a physical space and we look forward to slowly welcoming you back to venues where we can come together to sing and dance once more.
‘Forget Me Nots’ Premiere
On Friday 23rd April, we were delighted to host a sold-out premiere of our short film ‘Forget Me Nots’, along with a Q&A session with the group. Congratulations to everyone involved – we got some fantastic feedback and interesting insights.
Together with four of our Ambassadors and filmmaker Chris Rawlence, composer Jules Maxwell, animation artist Magali Charrier and artists Lucinda Jarrett and Melanie Pappenheim, the group told their stories of living with memory loss and how this experience is overcome with the help of photographs, routines and diaries.
The film will tour groups across London – if you would like us to show the film in your group please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you missed the premiere, you can watch the film at the link below!
We have screened ‘Forget Me Nots’ with cast members at Headway West London, INS, Stroke Association groups across London and in Bromsgrove – and we have a screening booked for Headway East London.
If you are part of a group who would like a taster session or screening, please get in touch with us at email@example.com.
On 4th May, we held a film-making masterclass, led by Chris Rawlence.
Chris has worked in television drama and documentary filmmaking for twenty years before joining Rosetta Life, and he has turned his hand to cameraman, editing, lighting and sound. He has recently purchased the technology to enable us all to live-stream our next performances.
He explored the details of how to film at home using an iPhone, tablet or computer, and introduced the ambassadors to lighting, sound and editing. This masterclass allowed the ambassadors to learn how to to improve their film-making skills – an essential skill in the remote era!
As a result of our successful working through the pandemic we have been awarded some funding to develop a way of reaching people online. We are beginning this work on 13th May and will film every session to create an online education programme so we can reach more people and grow the network of Ambassadors. We are looking for new participants to join this project – please help us spread the word!
We held the London Odysseys Presents event on 5th May, on the themes of Childhood Games, Recovery and Resilience. We heard a fantastic array of stories, poems, and songs, and had contributions from the Bristol and Reading groups. A lot of hard work went into the performance – well done to our hosts Lucinda and Lil, and all the ambassadors involved.
You will be able watch the performance online via a link in next month’s newsletter.
What is Odysseys Presents?
Odysseys presents is a regular event that will happen every few months. It’s a bit like a cabaret event, with a variety of different acts, and featuring an open mic session where contributions are welcome from everyone who wants to take part. Each event will be ‘hosted’ and designed by a different Odysseys group who might decide a theme and pick a compere for the evening. Sometimes we might have a guest speaker or performer too!
Your space to share art work and poetry.
Send your work to Jennie for the next newsletter firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiona, Reading group
Where I Would Like To Be
Lil, London group
A section of the painting Australia’s wilderness with oil painting and charcoal on board cardboard
My Head’s Been Broken Into
My head’s been broken into
The brain burglars have been
And stolen many treasures
And swiftly fled the scene
They left the bare essentials
Enough to stay alive
And a minimum of energy
from which to build and thrive
To tentatively trust
Returning to my head
Searching in the dark
for words once easily said
I fumble and I stumble
I trip and often fall
From being strong and mighty
Now feeling weak and small
Do I choose the path of victim;
Or warrior superman?
The negative route of “I can’t”
or the positive path “I CAN”
No longer dwelling on past theft
But regrowth as a man.
I can, I should, I will, I hope
I can, I can, I CAN
Martyn, Reading group
Who was I?
Who am I?
Who will I be?
I don’t know, to all three statements.
I just don’t know.
I can’t remember who I was
I’m not sure I like the me now
I’m not sure who I will be.
So where do I go to find out who I was?
Where do I go to sort out the who I am?
Where do I go to find out who I will be?
Does it matter who I was?
Does it matter who I am?
But it matters who I will be
And that is up to me
Chloe, London group
In Bristol we have been commissioned by Bristol’s stroke consultant at North Bristol NHS Trust to create a film about vision loss. We are going to bring a group of people who are experiencing vision loss together in May to explore what the content of the film should be. Watch this space!
Congratulations to Hazel Hammond, who has secured some Arts Council funding to create a series of short films that will help to communicate the challenges faced by those living with the effects of a stroke.
New members from London Stroke Odysseys, who performed and co created Forget Me Nots, will be invited to join an ambassadors training course which runs weekly for four sessions starting on 11th May. We would love to introduce you to the wider community of the Ambassadors in the next newsletter, so if you would like to share your story with us please email us at email@example.com.
We will be welcoming new members to the Reading Ambassadors group at South Street Arts on Wednesday 26th May at 2pm. Please help us share the news and do recommend the project to colleagues and friends who have experienced brain injury. We have flyers we can send out to you to help you get the word out!
We will run two sessions for new members and on 9th June we start rehearsals for the new opera production, Weathering the Storm. It has been composed by Orlando Gough with a libretto from Chris and Lucinda curated from all your ideas and your stories.
We will be working with Garsington Adult Community and look forward to welcoming back artists many of you are familiar with – Lea Cornthwaite, Victoria Couper, Rob Gildon and Karen Gillingham. We are looking forward to getting back into the theatre with you all and we are all excited about the possibility of a live stage performance at Garsington Opera on 30 July.
Weathering the Storm
The final fully staged version of our opera delivered in partnership with Garsington Opera