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23 Nov 2023

The Hall, Aviva Studios, Water Street, Manchester, M3 4JQ




To book access tickets please call 0161 817 4531 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm) or email access@factoryinternational.org

Age guidance: Suitable for all ages.
Running time: 1 hour & 55 minutes, no interval.


Accessibility features available for this event: Audio Description BSL Interpreting Wheelchair Access

Celebrate 75 years of the NHS with a powerful and moving performance – directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah

Honour the voices of the NHS on its 75th anniversary with a one-off performance directed by the Young Vic’s Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah.

This is a celebration of NHS staff – in their own words. Watch as their stories are brought to life through music, poetry, film and dance, with NHS staff performing alongside professionals and a live band.

Join us for the big finale of a six-month programme of creative activity undertaken by thousands of staff in hospitals across England. The performance has been developed as part of an unprecedented national collaboration between 19 hospital trusts.

The stellar creative team is led by Kwei-Armah, with Associate Director Jennifer Tang, award-winning writer and playwright Chris Bush, and original music by composer Ruth Chan.

What to expect

Poetry and writing has been an outlet for so many NHS staff to tell their stories. The written and spoken word are a powerful way to capture and convey feelings and emotions and these will be at the heart of the finale at Aviva Studios. Performers include slam poet Keith Jarrett, Bristol and Weston poet in residence Beth Calverley, and Roundhouse Collective alumnus Courtney Conrad, who has performed everywhere from Glastonbury to the V&A, will bring the words of staff to life.

The St George’s Hospital Staff Choir will sing the poignant Who Cares for the Carers; plus other original songs including A Grateful Heart from University Hospitals of Derby & Burton NHS Foundation Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Shine Your Light and A Rainbow in our Hands from York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be performed.

Have a peak at the goings-on inside the Laundry Room at Cambridge NHS trust with the Laundry Room Ballet. Dancers from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals perform to the soundscape of their hospital, while University Hospitals of Leicester bring their celebratory number, Cake Dance, led by Helen Stirland, to the stage.


To book online, please see above. For ticketing and box office related enquiries please call or email:

Phone: 0333 322 8679

Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 8pm and Saturday from 10am to 6pm.

Email: tickets@factoryinternational.org.

For more information please visit: Ticketing and Sale of Goods Terms & Conditions – Factory International

Good to know


To keep you safe when visiting Aviva Studios, security checks and bag checks by our Visitor Safety team will be in operation on entry to the gig. Please keep personal belongings to a minimum – bags above the size of an A4 sheet of paper will not be allowed.


Please note that this event will be livestreamed and available to view online on the NHS Our Stories channels. The livestream and recording may include shots of attendees. If you do not wish to be filmed, please contact Nina Franklin at nina.franklin@factoryinternational.org.

Cast and performers

Gabrielle Brooks
Robert Lonsdale

Michael Shaeffer
Naomi Wirthner

Fresh from a recent an Olivier award for her performance in Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Gabrielle Brooks has also performed in many other shows including Everybody's Talking About Jamie and Kwame Kwei-Armah's Twelfth Night.

Robert Lonsdale is known for playing Connor in Chewing Gum alongside Michaela Coel. He also recently appeared in the acclaimed new musical Standing at the Sky's Edge at The Crucible and National Theatres.

Michael Shaeffer is known for film and TV roles including Bodyguard, The ABC Murders and The Salisbury Poisonings as well as multiple theatre credits including The Old Vic and Almeida Theatre.

Naomi Wirthner is an actor and filmmaker known for her role in “Soldier Soldier” alongside others films and TV.

MD/Keyboard - Jack Hopkins

Drums/Percussion - Matt Firkins

Guitars - Paul Thornton

Bass - Ben Whiltshire

Woodwinds - Diane Hammond

Ellie Orton, NHS Charities Together

Srinivas Chintapatla, York and Scarborough Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Sallie Varnum, University Hospitals of Leicester

Griselda Goldsbrough, York and Scarborough Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Terry Roberts, Oxford University Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust

Among the many artists who have collaborated on this project across the country we are delighted to be joined this evening by:

Adrian Garratt and Helen Stirland (Leicester)

Tamsin Elliott, Bethany Roberts, Beth Calverley, Bec Garthwaite, Claire Vine (Bristol)

Student performers from Edge Hill University (Liverpool)

Keith Jarrett (Imperial)

Rosie Watters, Molly Suthers (Royal Brompton and Harefield)

Courtney Conrad (UCLH)

Stephen Lee Hodgkins (York)

Beth Calverley (Oxford)

All other performers are NHS staff from the different trusts.

Access information

Our full address is Aviva Studios, Water Street, Manchester M3 4JQ and the what3words is chop.feeds.chase.

To book access tickets and personal assistant tickets please call 0161 817 4531 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm) or email access@factoryinternational.org

Access bookings can be made by email or phone. They will also be available in person from our venue from 27 September 2023.

Aviva Studios is a new purpose-built cultural space in the heart of Manchester. The entrance to our building is through double glass doors. There are automatic doors at both entrances.

Once inside, there is step-free access to all areas of the venue. You will arrive into the Social, a large public space where there are a range of seats (including those with arms), a bar and toilets (including accessible toilets).

The bars in the Social and Hall Foyer have lowered accessible service points.

The Hall entrance is by lift, escalator or stairs from one side of the Social beside the brick arches.

There are accessible toilets on all public levels of our building.

Accessible toilets are located inside the main toilets space in the brick arches of the Social.

Here you’ll find a mixture of accessible cubicles with left- or right-hand transfer, as well as ambulant accessible cubicles with grab rails. This is also where you can find our Changing Places facility.

The toilets in the brick arches of the Social are gender neutral, so you can use facilities in any of the three arches.

There are additional accessible toilets in located in both Hall Foyers, at stalls and circle level.

You do not need a key to use the accessible toilets at Aviva Studios.

Assistance dogs are welcome at Aviva Studios, and we can provide mats and bowls in the Social on request. For this show, where the noise levels are likely to be too high for assistance dogs to go into the performance, we are happy to take care of your dog while you are enjoying the gig.

If you need to bring your assistance dog to this event, please get in touch with us on access@factoryinternational.org or by calling 0161 817 4531 (lines are open 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) so that we can make appropriate arrangements with you.

We will be using Williams WaveCAST headsets for both assisted listening and personal induction loops in the building. For this gig, we will have WaveCAST headsets with earphones for assisted listening, and with neckloops for personal induction loops for hearing aid users available to borrow – please ask one of our hosts when you arrive, or email access@factoryinternational.org. You can also download the WaveCAST app to your own device, and use your own earphones to join the assisted listening channel for the event when you arrive.

This performance will be BSL interpreted.

Travel information

Aviva Studios can be approached along Water Street (coming from Quay Street) or along Liverpool Road (coming from Deansgate or Castlefield).

Our closest stations are:

Salford Central station: 0.4 miles

Deansgate station and Deansgate-Castlefield tram: 0.6 miles

St Peter’s Square tram: 0.6 miles

Manchester Victoria station is approximately one mile from Aviva Studios

Manchester Piccadilly station is approximately 1.3 miles from Aviva Studios

Click on the links above to find detailed access information for each station.

Free bus services stop at all city-centre stations, and near to Aviva Studios along Deansgate, Bridge St and Quay St. Buses on these free routes are wheelchair accessible. For full details of the free bus routes, please visit the TfGM website.

There is a car park approximately 0.6 miles from Aviva Studios at Water Street Car Park, New Elm Rd, Manchester, M3 4JH.

There is also a NCP car park (Manchester Spinningfields) approximately 0.5 miles away from Aviva Studios at Spinningfields, New Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3BE. It has 35 accessible bays.

There are a small number of Blue Badge spaces along Water St and Quay St. Otherwise head towards Liverpool Road, Great John St and Lower Byrom St – close to our neighbours, the Science and Industry Museum where there are a small number of additional Blue Badge spaces.

For a list of other parking bays available in the area, visit Manchester City Council website.

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