Emerging from BALTIC Professor Christine Borland's research and practice connecting disciplines of visual, live and performing arts with biomedicine and genetics, this dynamic event will foreground the critically acclaimed performance of HeLa by Adura Onashile alongside a presentation and panel discussion with Professor Volker Straub fusing biomedical research and lived experience with critical dialogue, to consider ethical questions of representation and responsibility in histories re-told.
HeLa - Written & Performed By Adura Onashile. Direction and Dramaturgy by Graham Eatough
Inspired by ‘The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot. Produced by Iron-Oxide.
In 1951 Henrietta Lacks walked into the coloured section of the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore with a pain in her abdomen. A biopsy revealed a cancer that would kill her just months later. A cell sample taken without her permission was used as the raw material for some of the most important scientific discoveries of the past 100 years. Against a backdrop that charts the scientific milestones of the HeLa cell Line; this production seeks to bring Henrietta Lacks back to life, using testimony from her family members, the scientific community and the doctors that treated her.
HeLa is an engaging exploration of the vast scientific progress made possible by the cells of one, unknown woman. View the promo video here
Adura Onashile is a writer and charismatic performer with diverse experience in political, verbatim, site-specific and physical theatre. She has worked with companies including the National theatre of Scotland, National theatre, Urban Theatre Projects, Australia's foremost site-specific company, Chicago Shakespeare company, St Anne's Warehouse, The LIFT festival, The Clod Ensemble, The Belarus Free Theatre and Vox Motus. Adura has toured internationally with both the Foreign Commonwealth Office and the British Council. Find out more
Volker Straub joined Newcastle University in November 2003 from the University of Essen, Germany. He holds a first degree in Human Medicine and Philosophy, an MD/PHD from Heinrich-Heine-University of Dusseldorf and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Iowa, specialising in muscular dystrophies. He has an international reputation in the study of neuromuscular disease and is one of the lead co-ordinators of the German MD-net in Muscular Dystrophies.
Professor Straub’s research interest is focused on the origin of hereditary muscle diseases, particularly the muscular dystrophies. Together with Professor Bushby, Professor Straub is coordinating a network of excellence for translational research in rare inherited neuromuscular diseases funded by the European Commission. The ultimate goal of the network, called TREAT-NMD, is to accelerate the development of curative treatments for patients with neuromuscular diseases. To reach this goal the network is addressing the fragmentation currently hindering translational research for cutting edge therapies in these diseases.