5×15: Bodies

This Writers’ Centre Norwich event brought together five speakers for a diverse set of 15 minute talks on our often frustrating and surprising bodies.

Suzanne O’Sullivan spoke about treating broad manifestations of epilepsy: not just commonly-known seizures, but symptoms like uncontrolled running. Research has moved on from hitting parts of the brain with spatulas to targeted surgery to prevent incidents.

Jack Hartnell protested that medieval medics get a bad wrap; while their ideas might not have lasted, some themes and concepts are paralleled in today’s approaches.

Rachel Clarke opened with the shocking statement that “dying is my day job”, going on to speak movingly on palliative care and the power of storytelling in an area of the NHS not easily captured in numbers and targets.

Aarathi Prasad gave a fascinating and challenging insight into how little we know about reproduction, from the ancient non-human retro virus that makes pregnancy possible, to the chimera-like individuals whose DNA defies convention.

GP Gavin Francis rounded off the talks looking at how we change throughout our lives, from puberty grow spurts to mental changes, and down to a microbial level how our blood shapeshifts to carry oxygen.

The Story Machine

Eleven stories scattered across the battered remains of an old factory are yours to explore in this creative and surprising event from the Writers’ Centre Norwich.

Some are told with the aid of dancing, music, or a little spontaneous drama (with mild audience participation) – others are simply read aloud, or heard through headphones.

With just the opening and closing pieces shared by the whole audience, the meat of The Story Machine at the Show Factory Social Club is open to the individual to concoct, picking one of 18 journeys through the pieces.

From the initial segment’s totalitarian theme to Thomas Morris’ Welsh night out and Carys Davies’ tale of old horrors in the New World, many cultures and themes are explored.

It’s a great mental workout, and also a slightly physical one: with two and a half hours of standing, you might want to bring a camping chair.