“Why should the public have a say in what research gets funded and how?” and “surely doctors and researchers know best?” were among complex issues explored in a free play at Oxfordshire schools and the John Radcliffe Hospital.
“People Are Messy” examined how patients and the public can influence medical research through a provocative, moving and often comical play involving two young men with a rare blood disease and a consultant who is sceptical of involving patients and the public in research.
The play visited UTC Oxfordshire, Didcot; Cheney School and Oxford Academy, Oxford; The Oratory School, Woodcote and Banbury’s Blessed George Napier Catholic School and Sixth Form Specialist Sports College for youngsters aged 14 and over.
Oxford Academy science teacher Sally Thom said: “The performance allowed students to think about the wider scientific community and how they could contribute to the future of research.
“Students could access medical research on a level they understood and were supported in forming a valid opinion. It was hugely beneficial to our students.”
“People Are Messy” – by award-winning playwright Judith Johnson – is touring the country and also visited the John Radcliffe Hospital for two afternoon performances on Wednesday, February 10 and Friday February 12 for the wider public.
It was devised and produced by Theatre of Debate with support from the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and the Wellcome Trust.
Dr Sophie Petit-Zeman, Director of Patient Involvement at the Oxford BRC, said: “Judith Johnson has crafted a beautiful, funny and moving play that pulls together so many of the strands of patient and public involvement that vex and challenge, alongside those that seem strangely obvious, but which she sets out so skilfully.”
For information about getting involved in medical research, visit patientsactiveinresearch.org.uk.