Two artists are transforming the bedsides of children at UHG and Portiuncula Hospital into miniature theatre spaces to add a bit of joy to their time there.
Artists Sarah Fuller and Manuela Corbari are designing a bespoke shadowbox theatre which is being shared with children in paediatric units in the Saolta Group in ‘A Bird at my Window and Other Stories’.
The shadowbox theatre evolved from their residency in UHG, where they held workshops with young patients to create stop-motion animations and bedside performances with puppets, storytelling, and shadow-play.
When COVID-19 meant that the artists were no longer able to work in the wards, they translated their experiences into a table top shadowbox theatre which is being shared with children in hospital for the month of April.
After their stay in hospital, the kids can bring the shadowbox theatre home with them in a tote bag designed by the two artists and each one is accompanied by a seed-paper postcard which can be planted in the ground when the children leave hospital.
Together they will form a keepsake and a reminder of the more positive aspects of their hospital experience.
This echoes the words of one parent who said of the performance phase of the project: “We’ll bring nice memories from the hard time in hospital”.
Margaret Flannery, Arts Director of Saolta Arts said that ‘A Bird at my Window and Other Stories’ is an opportunity to spread the Galway 2020 cultural experience and help establish an arts and wellbeing programme at each Saolta hospital.
“I envisage it will help our colleagues in recognising the value of Arts and Health creating long term benefits to the health, wellbeing and cultural access for the whole hospital community.”
The limited edition shadowbox theatre is accompanied by a suite of recorded stories which can be accessed from the Saolta Arts website by going to saoltaarts.com.
The artists have also made a free template which is available alongside their audio stories so that children can cut out characters from their stories and create their own shadowbox theatres at home.