"'My Never Ending Story' Story 1"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

(as a staff member posting for a patient/service user),

Patients within a secure hospital have been involved in a project called 'My Never Ending Story'. This is a tale of recovery. It’s written by the patients together in the style of a fairy tale – but it encompasses many aspects of their or their peer’s lives. The difficulties may have been observed in others or felt by themselves. It is humorous and over the top at times, it was written in that way. What started as a task grew into an enthusiasm and the characters took on a life of their own. As you are drawn into this tale listen to the journey that the characters are taking. All of them are learning to cope with difficulties. All of them have some difficulty with prejudices and communication – whether through understanding a different language, paranoia concerning others opinions of them or just because they are different in appearance.

This tale could be written and re written because it is not the story of just one community……………..it could be any community and is happening in different ways all the time hence the never-ending story. As one recovers and accepts a new life another’s journey begins…………………….

Patients spent nearly two years putting together this fantasy story based on the recovery model. The story is fun but with a serious message. The stage the backdrops and all the puppets have been created by a group of four (sometimes five) patients and staff. They are very proud of their work and are looking forward to the forthcoming performances.

This is a piece from a patient:

I was approached by staff from CRB at the end of 2012 and asked if I could help with the production of the Never Ending Story play, which was at the stage of Production and needed patients to help other peers and staff to help the smooth running of the play.

My initial impression was one of skepticism in that this would be a flop as trying to put on a play with constant problems with security. When I attended CRB Art Room the first time and read the story, seen puppets and all the work patients and staff had put into this project, inspired me to do my best to help them put the show on. I felt quite honored to help this story get told in a humourous way, knowing it’s a reflection of true events and patients will familiarise themselves with some of the story I wan in.

I was given the task of doing all the backdrops and working out a smoother way to change the near scenery on cue. This took a few weeks to do and eventually, we chose cue words being the best method to allow me to change the backdrops on cue with the story line. This worked. Cards were made and cue words were placed on the cards for 6 Acts. When the story was read, I only had to listen to these key words to change each backdrop. The only difficulty I had was having to use some of the same backdrops twice. Not having much room to move and having staff Andy to construct a jig to allow the backdrops to go in and also to alter the stage slides to make the smoother process of putting backdrops in and out.

I had a peer to help me put the backdrops away during each change to save time and allow me to focus on listening to my cue words. I made a suggestion that at the front of the stage a large picture of a pumpkin should go there to hide the performers feet and give views a laugh before the curtain goes up.

We all spent a considerable amount of time rehearsing for the first opening show. For me, I was a little nervous but also excited at the prospect of this show being aired for an audience instead of a rehearsal. At our first show there was a mishap, leading to a large crash, just before Act 7. This led to laughter and added to the comedy of the production.

Since this first production we did a further two productions and also recorded the play. Getting positive feedback and hearing viewers laughter gave me a buzz. With a sense of satisfaction that all the hard work of staff and patients was a job well done. For me it was a pleasure to be a part of this production.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Mary Lilley, Modern Matron, The Peaks Rampton Hospital, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

I would like to congratulate all our patients for all their hard work in the production of the 'Never ending Story'. I am sure you can appreciate that Recovery plays a major part in all our patients care and treatment within a High Secure Setting. It can be quite frustating at times for our patients, as all their requests for any items including materials for any such productions have to be approved by both the Clinical Team and the Security Department, to ensure that they adhere with the Trust Policies and Procedures.

The patients gain a real sense of satisfaction and it plays a positive part in their self esteem when they participate in these kind of activities. Although it can be quite hard work, they can actually see a result at the end of it. To hear others acknowledging their hard work by appauding after any given performance and providing postive feedback makes them feel that they have something to aspire to in terms of their goals and vision for their future. In a High Secure Setting the progress that patients often make, may only seem like small steps at the time. However most of the time they try to remain motivated, but there again at times it may feel quite difficult for them, as they often feel isolated from their family, friends and the world. I feel very proud of our patients work, and it often brings a tear to my eye to see their great efforts in balancing life with their treatment in a High Secure Setting. A massive 'well done' to both the patients and our staff team for all their hard work and committment during these times.

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Response from Jane Danforth, Involvement Team , Involvement & Experience, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Jane Danforth

Well done to all the patients who have participated in 'My Never Ending Story' and well done for your first posting from a High secure setting on Patient Opinion letting others know about the work you are involved in.

Loved the bit about Act 7!

A fantastic achievement!

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