Performing Medicine: A thrilling body of evidence


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The Independent Culture

Forget medical dramas on television, this is far more fascinating stuff. Performing Medicine, a six-week arts season on anatomy, curated by Clod Ensemble in London, aims to be more thrilling than Holby City. It includes a cathartic event in which the artist Sheila Ghelani will invite the audience to choose one of 50 glass hearts containing different objects, don protective clothing and smash the heart up with a hammer at the Wellcome Collection.

Another event includes anatomical drawing and sculpture workshops at London's Whitechapel Gallery. And to finish the season off nicely, there's Professor Kneebone's Incredible Inflatable Pop-Up Anatomy Lesson, a 45-minute session in an inflatable operating theatre at the Wellcome Collection, where the interactive audience can work out which bits of our insides are where.

Considering most of us have relatively little knowledge about our own bodies – these events are bound to help solve the mystery. "Primarily, Performing Medicine was started to teach medical students useful skills such as good voice projection and body language through the arts," explains Suzy Willson, the co-artistic director of the Clod Ensemble theatre company who have been teaching the subject for 10 years. "Anatomy is the basis of a lot of Western medicine. Many people think of anatomy as gruesome and morbid, but it's fascinating for both scientists and artists."

Next week, Anatomy Lessons at Sadler's Wells sees six artists – Wendy Houstoun, John Hegley, Malika Booker, Brian Lobel, Lois Weaver and Anna Williams – present their own anatomy lesson – sometimes through a performance, or even a song.

It's definitely time to roll up your sleeves and play doctors.

Performing Medicine: The Anatomy Season ( is held in venues across London until 10 December