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Home » March 2021 Newsletter

March 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to our newsletter


I hope you all enjoyed the brief flirtation with Summer and the surprise of the warmth this weekend. Happy Easter! 

Our latest project, Forget Me Nots, will be screened at The Institute of Neurology.  It tells the story of the hidden disabilities of stroke, like memory loss, and of how we recover. We have been working together with 15 people living with the effects of stroke and brain injury on this project since November and we will welcome new ambassadors to our network in May. They will be offering presentations of the film to their local stroke and brain injury groups throughout April. We are really grateful to Jen, Marek and Leslie for their support of this project. 

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 in April and will film every session to create an online education programme so we can reach more people and grow the network of Ambassadors.  The first group to test this online programme will be in Donegal.  

Meanwhile we continue to develop our arts practice – please keep a look out for the new programme of masterclasses we will run every month to nurture our creative skills.  

Slowly, slowly the country is emerging from a year where we shut down our economy and locked ourselves at home to protect ourselves from the virus.  We are beginning to plan our first live performance since February 2020.  It will take place at Garsington Opera in July in Buckinghamshire.  Orlando has just shared with us the first draft of his score for the opera and it looks really exciting. 

Finally, the news about our work continues to spread and we have been asked to deliver a workshop at the International Conference of Arts and Health in June so we will be able to share the news about Brain Odysseys more widely.


Launch of the National Centre for Creative Health

The National Centre for Creative Health (NCCH) was officially launched on 9th March 2021. This livestreamed event celebrated the power of creativity to transform our health and wellbeing, and was attended by 500 people.

Lucinda Jarrett, the Artistic Director of Rosetta Life, and Pauline Boye, London Brain Odysseys Ambassador, presented at the event. They spoke about the Brain Odysseys project and shared a film of the work.

Other presenters included the Chair of Trustees, Lord Howarth of Newport, and guest speaker Lord Victor Adebowale, Chair of the NHS Confederation. The speakers reflected on how the arts, culture and creativity can support people and organisations in the context of the pandemic and increasing health inequalities.

Watch the stream below!

Skills Workshop

We held a Movement Masterclass on Tuesday 2nd March. It was led by dance artist Louise Klarnett.

Louise used an image of vapour trails to prompt an improvisation. This inspired some members of the group to create images.

Fiona, Reading group
Vapour Trails

It has led to a follow-up workshop with Louise around the theme of childhood and resilience, the results of which will be featured in Odysseys Presents London on 29th April.

We held the Bristol Odysseys Presents event on 13th February, on the theme of The Masks We Wear.

Take a look at the stream below!

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!

When are the events happening?

April 29th, 4pm – London will be hosting! All Ambassadors welcome
(Please note the change of date from the previous newsletter)
This will be on the theme of childhood games, resilience, and recovery

June 25th – Reading will be hosting! All Ambassadors welcome
This will feature a preview of our exciting collaboration with Garsington Opera

If you have an idea of something you would like to perform in the open mic section on 29th April, please let us know, you can email

It might be a song, a poem, a short film or recording, an animation, a story or some comedy!

Your space to share art work and poetry.

Send your work to Jennie for the next newsletter

Lil, London group
A series of 3 images
Landscape made at home with found objects

Fiona, Reading group

Spring is here

Sonia, Reading group

Tree of Life

Stroke Survivor, A day in the Life. 3.3.21

The start of another day in lockdown
Stretching and rubbing the eyes
The chorus of morning birds tweeting
Music accompanying my every torturous move
Medication for the day laid out in line
A pint of water to wash them down
A shower endured as part of the ritual
Partially dressed to negotiate the stairs
Relying on banister recently installed
Starting my exercises on the bottom step
Moving to the lounge to complete the regime
Breakfast awaits my most popular meal
Granola yoghurt and milk to sustain
Potentially fattening but who really cares
There’s more to get on with like reading the news
Then on with the day whatever that brings!!

Memory of a Walk in Lockdown

A walk through the graveyard in perfect silence
Gravestones everywhere both old and new
A muddy path and slippery bank to negotiate
Down to the river, water lapping the banks
On to the locks with stick in hand
Ah! thankfully a bench to sit on and rest
People with purpose and masked everyone
Dogs on leads with coats to keep warm
Turning to a café with a forlorn look
No coffee today it’s all shut up
Retracing my steps passing shops with shutters
Floods and water almost everywhere
People evading people, some two metres apart
Back to the car for a well-earned rest

Colin, Reading group

Andy has written a piece for the Bristol Health Partners website. They have shared the film of the opera, and also a film of the last Odysseys Presents. Read about it at the link below:

Rose and Lizzie – Zig Zag, performance in Bristol, 2020.

We started working with a new group in London this winter and they will be premiering their music and performance film ‘Forget Me Nots’ in April.

Together with four of our Ambassadors and composer Jules Maxwell, animation artist Magali Charrier and artists Lucinda Jarrett and Melanie Pappenheim, the group tell their stories of living with memory loss and how this experience is overcome with the help of photographs, routines and diaries.

Jen, London Ambassador tells us more about the project here…

“I found it really inspiring, in the beginning I felt like I was there to give guidance as an experienced member of the group and then very quickly everyone’s confidence grew and people chipped in with their ideas and thoughts. Watching the final film was really fantastic, seeing yourself in a high quality production that you helped to create through workshops, is a really good way to tell the story and experience of brain injury survivors.”

“Knowing how much Brain Odysseys has helped my confidence it makes me happy to be helping others and showing them you can learn new skills and brush up on the old ones. Often, as someone with brain injury, there aren’t opportunities to take part in high quality performance, it gives you a great sense of achievement and the feeling you can.”

“Even on zoom you get to know everyone’s characters, the people with jokes who make you laugh and its great watching the quieter members start to speak up and grow in confidence during the process.”

Join us for a public online screening on 16th April – we will send invitations out shortly.

The film will tour groups across London – If you would like us to show the film in your group please contact us.

We will be welcoming new members to the group at South Street Arts on Wednesday 26th May at 2pm. Please pass it on, we have flyers you can share – try to bring a friend!
We will run two sessions for new members and on 9th June we start rehearsals for the opera. We are looking forward to getting back into the theatre with you all.

Reading group will be hosting Odysseys Presents on 25th June.

Odysseys presents – open to everyone who wants to contribute:

29th April, 4pm – London group
June 25th, 4pm – Reading group

Ambassadors Masterclass available for all Ambassadors – London, Reading and Bristol

6th April, 2-3.30pm – Voice Masterclass with Melanie Pappenheim

Melanie Pappenheim will lead an enlivening voice and singing class.
The hour long session will begin with some enjoyable stretching and breathing exercises to help warm up our bodies, followed by some vocal games (such as tongue twisters) to warm up our voices.
Once we’re warmed up, we’ll sing some wonderful songs together.
(suitable for all levels).
There are 20 places available, so book early to secure a place.

4th May – Film-making workshop led by Chris Rawlence
He will explore how to get the best results when filming with a phone, iPad or computer – for zoom or online streaming through YouTube or Facebook.

Weathering the Storm
30th July
The final fully staged version of our opera delivered in partnership with Garsington Opera

Forget Me Nots
16th April – Screening + Q&A