Like with many things, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many services and groups have had to adapt and change how they work.
With in-person events postponed indefinitely, the Stroke Odysseys team needed to find a new way for people who have had strokes to come together and support their recovery through the creative arts.
Pre-pandemic the Stroke Odysseys Bristol team had put on several local performances at Southmead Hospital and planned a tour of performances including University of Bristol, St Monica’s Trust and Bristol Museum and an event at the Barbican in London.
Unfortunately, those performances could no longer take place so the Stroke Odysseys groups in Bristol, London and Reading worked with Rosetta Life to create a short online opera in summer 2020 and introduced the idea of a regular cabaret style event called Odysseys Presents to be live streamed to audiences on social media.
Odyssey Presents is a regular showcase of poetry, music, song, spoken word and performance, designed and presented by people living with stroke and brain injury and who work together across the UK to change the story of stroke.
The Bristol group organised their Odyssey Presents event in February around the theme of ‘The masks we wear’. The event featured the group’s artwork in the form of masks and drawings, poetry and music.
Andy Brewer, an ambassador for Stroke Odysseys Bristol who was involved in planning and delivery of the Odysseys Presents Bristol event said:
“The pandemic has made it difficult to do anything in-person but our group has been very good at regularly meeting up online. We found that the planning of our Odysseys Presents event was a therapeutic process which brought us closer together.
“It provided us with structure and something to focus on as a team, and this was especially beneficial as there is a real risk of isolation and loneliness because of COVID restrictions.
“I’ve always found that being part of something bigger like Stroke Odysseys and having the opportunity to express myself through creative arts has been integral to my own recovery after having a stroke. The enthusiasm from our group is certainly proof that others feel the same way.”
Watch the Odyssey Presents Bristol event here.
Watch the Stroke Odysseys online opera here.
The next Odyssey Presents event will be hosted by the Stroke Odyssey London Ambassadors on 30 April 2021. For more details, click here to sign up to the Stroke Odysseys newsletter.
Find out more about Stroke Odysseys here.