Bedford nurses to preserve and perform their story thanks to Arts Council collaboration

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Retired Caribbean Nurses’ Association

A play based on the experiences of retired Caribbean nursers living and working in Bedford has received funding by the Arts Council and will be performed and broadcast later this summer.

Playwright, Yasmin Joseph, has been commissioned to write the play inspired by stories from the Retired Caribbean Nurses’ Association (Bedford).

She will also be running three free playwriting workshops with young black people from Bedfordshire.

A rehearsed reading of the play, read by the nurses themselves, will take place online on Thursday 25 March at 7.30pm.

The RCNA has linked with The Place Theatre, The Higgins Museum, and the University of Bedfordshire to deliver this work.

Free tickets for the event can be booked here.

The RCNA enables the history of Caribbean nurses to be recorded and told, through collaborations with community stakeholders, and retired and serving nurses in Bedford.

Established in 2011, the group has gathered some oral histories of members deposited in Reminiscence Suitcases at the Higgins Bedford, the University of Bedfordshire, and Kempston Mobile Library Services.

These artefacts contributed to an exhibition held at The Higgins for Black History Month 2018.

Cynthia Stuart, chair of the RCNA and spokesperson for the group says: “The production of this play text with Yasmin continues the nurses’ objectives to preserve our history, and creates a strong basis for future collaborations with local partners.

“We are so proud to be part of the Bedford community and our work here has touched many local people. Our work with Yasmin Joseph will play a vital role in documenting an important Bedford story, and encourage local creative and cultural expression.”

Playwright Yasmin Joseph

Yasmin Joseph is an up and coming playwright, born in London with family links to both Bedfordshire and nursing.

She is one of Theatre503’s resident playwrights, an alumna of the Soho Theatre Young Writers Lab and recently completed a residency at the Royal Court Theatre.

Recent credits include Sugar, as well as short plays, The Place of Shining Light, and Do You Pray?

Yasmin’s much acclaimed debut full length play J’Ouvert opened in London last May to rave reviews.

Her work with nurses will include four intergenerational workshops for young Black writers in Bedford.

To sign up to take part in the free workshops, email elizabhoward@gmail.com.

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