SEACOLE + NIGHTINGALE
PREMIERE 13 AUGUST 7.30pm (BST)
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Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale are 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, features 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 reveals 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 is proud and excited to be able to bring something special, relevant, and inspiring to our audiences, and the fact that this has been made possible at all is 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.”
Director and Choreographer: Eliot Smith
Assistant Director: Yamit Salazar
Filmmaker: Jason Thomson
Funded and Supported by Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund
Mary Seacole performed by Bisola Bello
Florence Nightingale performed by Victoria Winter
Thomas Harden (Apprentice Dancer)
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 Eduse, Chief Executive of St Oswald's Hospice
Watch the official trailer for SEACOLE + NIGHTINGALE released 1 July 2020.
Music Behind the Documentary
Multi prize-winning pianist and composer Adam Johnson shares more about his newest album Savage Piano featured in Seacole + Nightingale.
To find out more please click here.
Filmed, recorded and mastered in Abbey Rd Studio 2
Meet the Drawing Artist
Renowned drawing artist Bernadette Koranteng shares more about her new drawings featured in Seacole + Nightingale.
To find out more please click here.
Eliot Smith talks about his first documentary SEACOLE + NIGHTINGALE (2020) commissioned by Eliot Smith Dance.
Year 4's from Seaton Sluice First School written a poem inspired by SEACOLE + NIGHTINGALE and features in the documentary.
I was scared when I heard the news
I saw it on TV
We were told that we must stay at home
It was so confusing to me.
I couldn’t go to my friend’s house
All the cafes were shut
I couldn’t do my dancing show
We couldn’t sleep out, hug or touch.
It’s the simple things I miss the most
I miss my family and friends
I wish that I could visit people
I wish this lockdown would end.
But when school closed and we were told
We couldn’t go in for a while,
I relished spending more time at home
And I walked around with a smile.
I’ve enjoyed some parts of lockdown
It’s been nice to slow down a bit
To have a lie in or play on my tablet
It’s nice to have time just to sit.
I could see more of my family
And hang out with my brother
I didn’t have to go to shops
And home-learning was no bother!