Are you a fan of community engagement? Have you seen the benefits of theatre in your community? Want to help bridge the gap in areas and communities that face isolation?
The Spur-Of-The-Moment Shakespeare Collective (SOTMSC) was founded in 2010 by Victoria Urquhart and Sean Horbatiuk, to cultivate a community of emerging artists with a shared interest in Shakespeare and community engagement.
Annually the SOTMSC performs "Shakespeare in Hospitals". It is a project that is exactly what it sounds like: we create new shows, using Shakespeare’s words, designed specifically to bring to patients in hospitals across the Greater Toronto Area (Mount Sinai, Sunnybrook, CAMH and more) at no charge to the hospitals or the patients.
One of the great joys in doing this kind of charitable work is we see first-hand what it's like to bring someone out of isolation. Theatre can be many things - an opportunity to laugh, to feel, or a momentary escape from treatment. There is so much more good we are capable of doing for others, but we can't without your support, so that is why we have launched this fundraising campaign.
Your contribution will help us expand and grow the program to many more facilities beyond December 2018. Our hope is that we can build the program into a year-round initiative where we can be available to help wherever & whenever we are needed. The sooner you are able to contribute, the sooner we can reach out to other facilities or answer requests from various hospitals to bring Shakespeare to many more patients.
We rely on no funding from any of the facilities we work with, so we do this with support from various arts councils, sponsors and out of our own pocket. Your contribution essentially helps us help others in these challenging situations directly.
It would mean the world for us to continue building upon this almost decade-long initiative. Through all the players and directors and support staff on-and-off our stage (from patient bedroom, to cafeteria to designated performance space within a hospital) the constant has been good people doing the best that they can for others who don't have the time and opportunity that we have (We wouldn't have kept going unless we believed in the work) It is truly our labour of love.
We're not Doctors or Nurses, but we want to do our part to help make the lives of patients a lot easier with whatever medical challenges they are facing.
With your contribution, we can bring Shakespeare to a lot more of those who are dealing with illness in isolation, and hopefully make the dark, quiet days a lot more brighter.
About the Shakespeare-In-Hospitals Program
The Shakespeare-In-Hospitals Program combines classical text with modern storytelling to engage audiences facing isolation due to healing/transitional purposes.
To go through a healing/transitional process currently means to be removed from one's community to focus on “getting better". The Shakespeare-In-Hospitals Program provides opportunities for artistic community engagement throughout the healing/transitional process, when and where audiences wish to engage.
The program works in three formats:
Staged Performance - A performance space with a designated area and time for audiences to attend. Audiences range from 2-100 people. All actors remain onstage for the run. The performance is followed by a question and answer period discussing the theme of the material.
Open-Space (Street-Theatre Style) Performance - A non-traditional public performance space with no designated area for audiences to sit. Patron traffic in these areas are high (as it is likely a cafeteria), and the actors must break up the performance into individual scenes to cater to audiences in this space.
Private Room Performance - Individualized scenes and monologues catered to patient bedrooms. Patients can choose scenes and plays from the company’s repertoire. A mini question and answer period is provided after each performance.
The project tours to hospitals, hospices, shelters and senior residences across Toronto and parts of Ontario from the conclusion of rehearsals in mid-October to early December of each year, focusing on facilities that service arts priority areas.
Making a contribution today will help further our projects and mission to bring community engagement through performance.
The SOTMSC continues to grow and develop projects in 2018 under the mandate of: Establishing and cultivating community engagement in areas in and around Toronto experiencing isolation based on economic, social, and physical barriers. Our mission statement is to marry classical text, contemporary performance, and audience interaction to invite and encourage people to engage with their community.
How We Work
The Shakespeare In Hospitals Project engages members of the health-care sector of Toronto who are in healing or transitional processes. It provides support in health-care facilities and communities facing high turnover rates and isolation to increase flexible communication and seamless patient/client care. Classical and modern theatre practice is employed with discussion, interactive exploration, and performance as tools to break down physical, economic, and social barriers in these locales.
The Shakespeare In Hospitals Project is founded off of 3 Principles:
Often people in hospitals, retirement homes and hospices are restricted to a bed or a floor or a ward. We offer a distraction from their healing and transitional processes, to bring them out of their situation and into one that they can control and interact with by using clown-tactics in our interactive scenes and telling them stories and sonnets that they can either relate to or escape into.
While most hospitals have recreational therapy programming, accessibility is always an issue, and the amount of interaction patients or clients can receive in these programs is constantly fluctuating based on their conditions.
We provide scenes, monologues, and choral pieces for performances and interactions by performing in various mediums including: Private Room (or One-on-One) Format, Open-Space Format, and Staged Format. This allows us to tailor performances to any environment or location for any patient or client regardless of their condition.
Communities exist in hospitals too! Whether it is among patients, their families, or the staff. It is easy to forget this when focusing on treatment, or transitioning back into everyday life. When patients engage with their hospital/health care facility’s community, they provide themselves with more opportunities to emotionally cope with the treatment they are receiving. Shakespeare In Hospitals further supports this dynamic by providing a new and innovative way to interact and bond with their community (even if it is only for a short period of time) and allow our patients to have a uniquely positive experience during their stay.
Previous facilities have included:
Toronto Western Hospital
Toronto General Hospital
Sunnybrook Health Centre
Tapestry at Village Gate West
Princess Margaret Hospital Lodge
Sick Kids Hospital
Lord Dufferin Senior’s Centre
Adelaide Women’s Resource Centre
Matthew’s House Hospice
Mt. Sinai Hospital
If you wish to learn more about how you can support our work, please email Victoria Urquhart at firstname.lastname@example.org