top of page


Director and Choreographer: Eliot Smith
Assistant Director: Yamit Salazar
Filmmaker: Jason Thomson​​​
Mary Seacole performed by Bisola Bello
Florence Nightingale performed by Victoria Winter
Ensemble Dancers:
Adam Davies
Thomas Harden (Apprentice Dancer)
Emma Lane
Gemma Paganelli
Giacomo Pini
Yamit Salazar
Music: Savage Piano
Composer: Adam Johnson
Costume Advisor: Andrew Gregson
Narrative: Yamit Salazar and Eliot Smith
Voiceovers: Hollye Sangster and George Orchard
Drawing Artist: Bernadette Koranteng
Poem written by Year 4 pupils from Seaton Sluice Primary School
Staff from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Tervor Sterling, Chair of The Mary Seacole Trust 
David Green, Director of Florence Nightingale Museum
Stephanie Edusei, Chief Executive of St Oswald's Hospice
Funded and Supported by Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund

Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale were centre stage in a new documentary, directed by British contemporary choreographer Eliot Smith, taking inspiration from and shining a light on the NHS medical staff serving on the front line in tackling Covid-19. This interdisciplinary documentary, with newly-released music by multi award winning composer Adam Johnson, featured original artwork by Bernadette Koranteng, a new poem written by children from Seaton Sluice Primary School, and real-life interviews with NHS medical personnel, all intertwined with contemporary dance performances.


Created around some of Britain’s most beautiful forests at a time when nature has flourished during isolation, this documentary revealed the similarities between the missions of Seacole and Nightingale and those of today’s medical staff, all caring selflessly for humanity, with courage, passion and devotion.

Eliot Smith said: “Since creating PITMAN for ESD in 2016 around the legacy of Ashington’s Pitmen Painters, it has been a continued passion of mine to look at historical contexts with fresh eyes, to show their relevancy today, and allow the characters involved to speak through the medium of dance. Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale came from two different backgrounds and both faced different challenges, but they both had one thing in common: a desire to care for humanity.  I believe their stories are extremely relevant today, both in response to the current coronavirus outbreak and to the challenges that are still faced involving gender and colour.


Working with an incredibly creative team, ESD has been proud and excited to be able to bring something special, relevant, and inspiring to our audiences, and the fact that this was made possible at all was due to Arts Council England emergency response funding, for which the Company is extremely grateful.” 


Trevor Sterling, Chair of The Mary Seacole Trust said: “On behalf of the Mary Seacole Trust, I was delighted to contribute to this deeply insightful and creative documentary. As we emerge from these troubling times, this documentary will ensure that the tremendous effort of those on the frontline during this pandemic, particularly nurses, will continue to be gratefully acknowledged and that Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale will continue to inspire.”

bottom of page