Immersive show touring the UK tells story of writer who suffered brain injury

A new show currently touring the UK tells the story of Shannon Yee and her time spent recovering from a rare and life-threatening brain infection. In December 2008 Shannon developed a sinus infection, which progressed rapidly into a subdural empyema, an infection of the brain. This led to 3 months of surgery and antibiotic treatment in hospital, and resulted in acquired brain injury.

An piece of artwork for reassembled Talking to the Belfast Telegraph, Shannon said: "It was terrifying. I'd never been in hospital before and I was paralysed down my left side for three weeks. I had nurses attending to my personal care and I was on morphine. I began to think, 'What a wacky fringe show this would make'." And so, on returning home Yee used her experiences to start writing and the result is Reassembled, Slightly Askew a totally immersive performance charting course of her illness, recovery, rehabilitation and life after with an unseen disability.  On arrival audience members are met by a “nurse”, given a medical bracelet, and then led into a room laid out like an intensive care unit. They are shown to a hospital bed on which they lie for the duration of the performance, wearing headphones and an eye mask. Through the headphones the audience hear the voices of Shannon, her partner, her neurosurgeon and her nurse which create the sensation of actually being inside her head. Shannon explained "This hasn't been done before and audiences have been really touched by the effects of the technology we use to recreate my experience in the neurosurgical ward." She adds: “Healthcare professionals, surgeons and nurses have said they are changing the way they practise after seeing it. The impact it's making is very exciting, on a personal level and on an artistic level. "I'm very lucky to be here and to be able to reflect on my experience. I have a lot of invisible challenges, a lot of fatigue - my energy battery is a bit low and always requires me to top up and I'm very sensitive to noise. "Little did I think, all those years ago when I was lying in the acute neurosurgery ward at the Royal Victoria Hospital, that I would be creating an artwork that would take audiences into a hospital bed - and my head. I wanted to share the challenges and triumphs of my deeply personal story of my acquired brain injury. It is a story of terror, discovery, humour, but - above all - hope." Supported by The Arts Council and National Lottery Funding, the show is touring the UK through to the end of April. For more information here.
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