Scarabeus - our locally-based international theatre company - has two projects in Archway this summer - (see also Have you Ever Wanted to Learn to Fly?)
Their project with Grafton Primary School - Whittington Stories - explored the history of the hospital which they presented on 8 July at two free performances in one of the disused wards of the hospital.
The audience were given a whistle stop tour of the hospital's origins - did you know that the first medical foundation on the site was a leper hospital, dating from 1473? That the so-called 'new' hospital was built in 1848 or that Florence Nightingale advised on the design of the 1870 infirmary?
The children taking part in the presentation were given a real sense of the importance of the hospital in their own lives when they were asked to raise their hands if they were born there. Three-quarters of them started life at the Whittington. History was brought even more up to date when the actors staged a reconstruction of the 2010 protests against the proposed Whittington closure "Our NHS is not for sale"
A more light-hearted approach was taken in scenes reenacting ward rounds, an operation and a clinic which deteriorated into a game of musical chairs. An anatomy lesson demonstrated that the doctor (see image) knew rather less than his pupils....
The last word went to Nitsa Sergides, headteacher of Grafton Primary "my children and grandchildren were born here but until this performance, I never valued the hospital so much".