Play asks how health professionals cope under pressure

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The cast of “Grace Under Pressure”.

IN a verbatim theatre work devised by writer-director David Williams and the University of Sydney’s Paul Dwyer as dramaturg, the play, “Grace Under Pressure”, coming to The Q this week, looks at the lives of health professionals and asks how they cope with the pressures.

Co-commissioned by Seymour Centre and The Big Anxiety, the timely play was created in collaboration with the Sydney Arts and Health Collective through interviews with dozens of anonymous professionals, mostly doctors and nurses.

The result is a substantial compendium of stories and recollections that highlight the work conditions, levels of stress and culture of humiliation within the rigidly ordered, tiered hospital environment in Australia.

Those accounts are related by an ensemble of four actors stepping up the mic to create 18 representative characters.

Questions broached in the play include whether a doctor or nurse can give a patient the best possible care if they haven’t slept for days, especially if they are also being bullied or sexually harassed at work or told to stop whinging after complaining about having to work excessive hours.

It’s confronting material, but “Grace Under Pressure” is billed as an intimate, moving theatre experience that reveals the stories, whether funny or heartbreaking, behind the words.

“Grace Under Pressure” at The Q, Queanbeyan, June 10-12, book here or 6285 6290. Coarse language, suitable for ages 14 and up.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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