We find the form is an effective way of presenting a multitude of voices, including people of different ages, experiences, opinions and cultural backgrounds – elements of which resonate with audiences as they recognise and relate to different aspects of the material. Performed by actors reading from the text, the pieces are relatively easy to remount as they do not require extended rehearsal periods.
Our first monologue production was The Cervical Monologues which was developed in 2004 to raise awareness around cervical cancer. W&T decided to produce our own version of The Vagina Monologues, and developed the script through in-depth research with a wide range of people including women with diverse cultural backgrounds and opinions, GPs, practice nurses, CIU staff, lab staff and Boots Walk-in staff. The Cervical Monologues premiered at The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome in 2005 before being delivered extensively in community settings and at high profile conferences where its value for health professionals’ training was established.
We have since developed other productions using the same research-based model. These have included: Talking Balls about male cancers, Woman First about pregnancy & disability, 20 Voices about refugee and asylum seeker experiences, TRAITS about Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia, Permission to be Nosy for Health Visitors’ training, and two pieces of work within the borough of Dudley – Hidden Harm exploring people’s experiences and perceptions of self-harm, and Thanks for Asking exploring mental health & wellbeing in YP from BAME communities.