Scottish Opera Young Company singing, dressing in festive clothes holding toys. Credit Sally Jubb

14 December, 2023

NHS Lothian Charity’s Tonic Arts Programme and Scottish Opera Young Company Spread Festive Cheer Across NHS Lothian Sites

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Over two days, on 6 and 7 December, the Scottish Opera Young Company’s 14 members performed four concerts at Ferryfield House, The Hive at Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Liberton Hospital and Findlay House. The collaboration aimed to integrate the healing power of music and performance into the healthcare environment. The concerts featured a blend of original stories and well-loved songs, creating a joyful, festive atmosphere.

Patients and staff alike were treated to performances, offering a brief respite from the hospital environment. The 40-minute performance followed a family getting ready for Christmas. It commenced with the youngest child sneaking downstairs, eager to uncover gifts under the Christmas tree or catch a glimpse of Father Christmas. A mysterious magic box suddenly appears at her feet, unleashing the spirit of Christmas. The story unfolds through adventures with toys, decorations, and presents, teaching the children the joys of Christmas and the importance of family love. The concerts aimed to not only entertain but to contribute to the emotional wellbeing and sense of community within the hospitals over the festive period.

Kirsty, NHS Lothian staff, said:

The patients loved it! I noticed they all sat mesmerised for the whole performance. We would normally expect a few of them to start getting agitated but they were all happy to sit listening and some singing along, and to chat with the performers after.

“For the performers to give up their time at this busy time of year to come and sing for us really is so appreciated.”

Director Flora Emily Thomson, Scottish Opera, said:

It has been a real joy for every member of the Scottish Opera Young Company to create and perform The Magic Box for those within the NHS Lothian community.

“For the young artists involved, it has been a revelatory experience revealing the importance of high quality, inter-generational arts, and the powerful impact projects like this can have on both audience member and performer.

“We thank all at Tonic Arts for your support and collaboration, and hope that all that came to see the show shared the warmth, joy and nostalgia we strove for in its creation.”

Dr Len McCaffer, Tonic Arts Manager, said:

These concerts exemplify the profound impact of such creative partnerships within healthcare settings. The Scottish Opera Young Company’s dynamic performances brought joy and a sense of shared celebration to NHS Lothian staff and patients during the festive season.”

Tonic Arts supports the improvement of health and wellbeing through live arts programmes and performances, creative workshops, art exhibitions on hospital sites, a diverse art collection for staff, patients and visitors to enjoy, and the creative enhancement of clinical environments.

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