An inspiring play about Parkinson’s and Parkour is coming to a theatre near you
Author: Geoffrey ChangPublished: 8 September 2016
Prep: Cook: Serves:
A new thought-provoking play that explores the friendship between a free-running teenager and a woman with early-onset Parkinson’s is going on a nationwide tour
After three sell-out shows in cities across the UK and rave reviews, a new Parkinson’s play called Kinetics is taking to the road for a run of 13 performances throughout September and October.
Based on a true story, the inspiring theatre piece explores the unlikely friendship between a teenage boy who is devoted to free running (Parkour) – the extreme sport that involves navigating obstacles without equipment – and a middle-aged woman with early-onset Parkinson’s disease.
But what can they possibly have in common? Despite living completely opposing lives, a chance encounter leads the two protagonists to realise the answer: they share the desire to move.
Featuring projected imagery and electrifying live Parkour, the show raises awareness of Parkinson’s with wit, while challenging perceptions and giving a realistic insight into the daily struggles that come with living with the condition.
Written by actor and drama teacher, Sue Wylie, the play recounts her personal experience of living with Parkinson’s. Sue, who performs the lead role, explains: “Five years ago shortly after my 50th birthday I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. After the initial shock I knew I wanted to write about it. I was teaching drama at the time and discovered that a bright but rebellious 16-year-old student in my tutor group was free running on the school roof.
“I was intrigued by the risks he took in his addiction to this extreme sport. How interesting to contrast that with a middle-aged woman whose world of movement is slowly being eroded. What if their paths should accidentally cross and a friendship form? I knew there was a story in there and so Kinetics was born.”
Sue Wylie (left) playing lead character Rose
Through the juxtaposition of the characters the sharp script, full of emotion and humour, unexpectedly draws parallels between two lives that couldn’t seem more opposite. The two learn more important life lessons from one another than they ever could have imagined.
Following the initial success of sold out shows last year, Kinetics received funding from the Arts Council, allowing them to organise the upcoming Autumn 2016 tour. Parkinson’s UK have officially endorsed the play with CEO Steve Ford saying: “Sue’s play offers an inspiring story to which we can all relate.”
Sweet and mellow stewed chicory with rich ham and cheese
6 days ago
A “revolutionary” step in stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease?
Scientists in China have developed a method to help improve stem cell research in mice models of Parkinson’s – which could potentially lead to promising new treatments. The researchers, based at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, identified two cell surface markers of dopamine neurons, which are reduced in Parkinson’s. They injected cells with these markers into the brains of the mice and found that this resulted in “higher therapeutic potency” for improving motor symptoms of the condition. As part of their research, the team also worked to control the variability of donor cells, to help improve therapeutic outcomes for Parkinson’s cell therapy. The researchers, whose study was published in ‘The Journal of Clinical Investigation’, described the findings as a “revolutionary step on the road towards more effective and safer stem cell therapies”.
Could frequent nightmares be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease?
A new study has suggested that experiencing recurrent nightmares and bad dreams could be an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers from the University of Birmingham, UK, used data from an existing US study that followed 3818 men, aged 67 or older, over a period of 12 years. Participants who reported experiencing bad dreams at least once a week were followed up. During the follow up, 91 people were diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The results suggested that participants who had frequent bad dreams were twice as likely to develop the condition as those who did not. Commenting on the study, lead author Dr Abidemi Otaiku said: “While we need to carry out further research, identifying the significance of bad dreams and nightmares could indicate that individuals who experience changes to their dreams in older age – without any obvious trigger – should seek medical advice.”
More than £2m awarded to research on mitochondria and Parkinson’s disease
Researchers at UK biotech startup NRG Therapeutics are developing potential treatments that may help slow the progression of Parkinson’s by protecting the mitochondria – a part of every human cell that works to power chemical reactions. The company has now received a £2.68m award from government-backed agency Innovate UK to continue its research. Their research built upon previous findings that damage to mitochondria in the substantia nigra – an area of the brain associated with dopamine – may be linked to Parkinson’s. The scientists developed molecules that keep a ‘pore’ in the mitochondria closed, which stops calcium flowing into it, preventing a process that eventually ruptures the powerhouse of the cell and leads to its death. The new funding award follows previous investment from Parkinson’s UK and the Michael J Fox Foundation.