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Raising the curtain on epilepsy

Raising the curtain on epilepsy

Published on: 16 November 2018

There will be the chance to see a North East theatre group presenting their latest work to highlight the condition epilepsy.

The new piece, by Operating Theatre, explores the ethical, philosophical and personal implications of living with epilepsy and the effect new treatments could bring to controlling seizures.

The title, ‘Making for the Light’, is taken from a quote by Vincent van Gogh, “so let us go forward quietly, each on his own path, forever making for the light.” Van Gogh is widely believed to have suffered from seizures.

The performance is at 8pm, Thursday 22nd November, at the Live Theatre Studio, Broad Chare, Newcastle. It is free to attend but spaces are limited and tickets can be booked here 

Artist with epilepsy

The play introduces the audience to Ella, herself an artist with epilepsy. For Ella, living with epilepsy has been tough at times. A ground-breaking treatment offers her a chance to make for the light and live symptom free, but will it alter who she is? Will she be turning her back on the very thing that has made her an artist?

The production has been developed in collaboration with a team of 30 neuroscientists, engineers and clinicians from the Newcastle University CANDO project (Controlling Abnormal Network Dynamics using Optogenetics), who are developing cutting-edge brain implants to try and control focal epilepsy.

Epilepsy affects around 600,000 people in the UK and uncontrolled seizures can have a major impact on patients’ lives.

As well as working with members of the CANDO project, Artistic Director Alex Elliott and award winning writer Carol Clewlow have been interviewing people with epilepsy to gain a wide ranging understanding of this condition and the impact it can have.

Different experiences

Director, Alex, said: “Epilepsy is like a thumbprint. Every single person is different.

“We’ve spent several months interviewing people who have been very generous with their time and in every case the story, the experiences are really quite different.”

After the show, there will be a discussion with a panel including the director Alex Elliott, Professor Andy Jackson (co-Principal Investigator on the Newcastle University CANDO project) and Dr Rhys Thomas (Honorary Consultant in Epilepsy at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust).

The performance is at 8pm, Thursday 22nd November, at the Live Theatre Studio, Broad Chare, Newcastle. It is free to attend but spaces are limited.

Tickets can be booked here 


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