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Brief, Chance Encounters

November 26, 2016

I’m still whirling after a series of brief encounters. I do believe in the phrase, “If you build it, he will come”. I just didn’t expect so many people to come.

As regular readers will know I’ve been involved in the 7 Days of Action campaign. So far, we have run two campaigns – in April and October. It is probably fair to say that the October campaign didn’t have the same level of impact as the first campaign. The campaign steering group discussed ideas for the next campaign and I threw my hat into the ring and suggested a play.

The idea of the play is to write a play in the form of a single character monologue. The play will have seven scenes and will be recorded and released as seven podcasts over the seven days of the 2017 campaign. I’ve written the first draft of the play and we have actors lined up to play the two central characters. Although it is a fiction, the main character’s story is a familiar one because it draws on several experiences of people who contacted the campaign with loved ones in ATUs. Quite a few people have read the first draft and have given some fantastic critical feedback which will feed into the second draft which I’ll get cracking on next week. It is going to happen.

On Thursday I travelled up to Birmingham to speak at a BIA’s training event. I love this gig, which I’ve been doing twice a year for the past four years. Wendy, the trainer, is cracking company and the audience are always warm and receptive. Wendy always lines up some impressive other speakers and I always come away having learned a lot.

Over dinner on Thursday, I told Wendy about the play and she was dead excited. For some time now, Wendy and her co-trainer, Ming, have been exploring the idea of a play that is the same story but presented from several different perspectives. Their original thought was to take one of the landmark Court of Protection cases and write a play based on the different people involved in the case. It would include a scene narrated by the person detained; another featuring a family member, another from the social worker’s perspective. Possibly a scene written by the BIA and a scene by one of the legal people involved in the case. I thought this was a fabulous idea and asked to take part – I could write family member’s story.

The other speaker at the event was Judge Eldergill. He was the Judge at the centre of the landmark Manuella Sykes case and he contributed to a drama that Radio 4 produced about the case. During the break, we talked to the Judge about the idea of the play and he said he was very interested in writing a scene from the Judge’s perspective. Can you believe that? A chance encounter whilst having a smoke and a High Court Judge comes on board. Ming also arrived and she would be the obvious person to write either the social worker or the BIA scene.

I think there are two plays here.

If anyone is interested in being involved, please drop me a line. There are lots of people involved in Court of Protection cases and to have as many different perspectives in the play as possible would undoubtedly add to the drama. First and foremost, we need someone to write the central character – the person detained. But other roles, IMCAs, solicitors, staff in the ATU will all have something valuable to give the project.

Let’s get this show on the road……..

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10 Comments
  1. simone aspis permalink

    Great idea and good to see that a narrative being done by a person with LDs. If u are going to use actors – be great if you can use people with LDs in different roles. It seems like people with LDs only get stereotypical roles.

  2. Shirley Buckley permalink

    Hi Mark how about the litigant in person me in the CoP from Oct 2006 until July 2014, and Martin, still waiting to be heard in the Court????????????? Would the play have room for us

    • I think we have to make it a fictional case Shirley, although obviously it will be based on real life cases.

      • Shirley Buckley permalink

        I understand that, sorry, what I meant was that the fictional scenario should include a litigant in person, if there is going to be a judge, and above all the person who has the right (capacity or not} to appear in the CoP in person before the judge. The subjective interplay between the two could be very dramatic (if you understand what I mean) . Sorry about the misunderstanding, Im not very lucid these days!

      • Ah I see. Yes, a litigant in person in the play would be brilliant.

  3. Frannie permalink

    Marvellous

  4. Would love to add something, but I’ve not had a CoP case.
    CoP dealings are minimal, but I would like them to investigate a housing provider contractor overcharging us with extortionate rent, false description of housing, and no support with paying bills where careworkers use the utilities more than my son. My son had to move in as we were threatened with higher costs, if he didn’t move in ASAP. I saw no way out.
    I wonder what protection the CoP could give, and whether it would lead to a court case.

  5. Tamsin Cottis permalink

    Sounds like a really interesting project, Mark. I’m interested to get involved – possibly helping to write the main character, alongside someone/some people who have been lived expereince in ATUs. I’m a founder of Respond, psychotherapist and writer

  6. Shirley Buckley permalink

    From an experienced Court of Protection user. on my son’s behalf 2006 to 2014, never ever go anywhere near this Court.

  7. More power to your elbow sir!

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