Thursday, 26 July 2018

Prick Dramaturgy: Jade Byrne @ Edfringe 2018

Pricks -
Jade Byrne in association with Little Mighty
Pleasance Courtyard, The Cellar 1 - 27 Aug 2018 (not 8, 15, & 22), 14.15 (15.15)

Jade Byrne is an actress with type 1 diabetes, which is not type 2 diabetes. Over the past 29 years, she’s had over 70,000 pricks (of the medical kind), and she’d like to set the record straight: she’s not bankrupting the NHS, and she Can Eat Cake.

From her own experience and with the support of JDRF, the world’s leading type 1 diabetes research charity, she aims to clear up some of the common misconceptions, misunderstandings and misdiagnoses’ around the disorder. Using spoken word, poetry, projection and an original soundscape, Jade tells her story about families, learning to care for each other better, and the ups and downs of dealing with a lot of pricks.

How would you define the political content of your work?

I would define the political content of Pricks as empowerment to the NHS. It draws people's attention to how critically important having an NHS is to a Type 1 Diabetic. I am so thankful for our NHS and everything it has done for me, it has kept me alive for the last 28 years since my diagnosis and I can't imagine how my family and I would have coped without it. My Dad lives in the USA now and his health insurance costs over $700 per month for a reasonably fit individual, I'd hate to think what I would have to pay.

Are there ways in which your work can engage the audience beyond the immediate emotional rush of the content, and move forward towards further action?

At each of my shows there's a JDRF collection bucket. JDRF is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, they raise money to improve lives and hopefully one day eradicate Type 1 Diabetes and every penny towards this charity goes a long way. Also after the previews of Pricks I was inundated with feedback from audience members telling me how much they'd learnt, so if they can each take that knowledge and apply it to just one person, then that's paving a path for change in the perception of Type 1 Diabetes.

How do you balance the political and theatrical elements of your work?"

The balance between the political and theatrical elements of Pricks comes naturally in the story. Pricks is autobiographical and the empowerment of the NHS is just something that automatically happens because of the theme and because of the all of the work the NHS has done for me. I haven't even thought about the balance at all as it's a totally honest piece and so it just happens as it's there. I didn't sit down to write a political piece of theatre, I sat down to write my story to create more understanding about what Type 1 Diabetes is and of course this results in empowering the NHS because they have empowered me.

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