One of the greatest honours, and challenges, of Saltmine’s work is the gift of telling true stories. Communicating real people’s experiences with integrity, hope and authenticity is at the heart of producing theatre with a message – especially when that message pushes you right outside of your comfort zone. 

Last summer we were commissioned by the East London NHS Foundation Trust to create a short piece of theatre for the Regional Sepsis Symposium in Bedford – a conference alerting health professionals to the dangers of the infection.  

We were given a case study of a woman who lost her mother very suddenly to the disease, and interviewed a doctor who had survived sepsis to gain the professional perspective. The piece contrasted the journeys of the patient’s daughter and a junior doctor at the hospital. 

I wanted to explore the various factors which affect an accurate diagnosis – from the British ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude to reporting symptoms, to the overwhelming pressures facing all NHS employees. The aim was to encourage doctors and nurses that ‘just asking’ for a second opinion on a patient’s symptoms could save their life. 

Subsequently, the piece has been filmed for NHS teaching resources, and will hopefully continue to enrich the learning of our incredible health professionals.

Emily Feltham