2BU Productions

We empower and give voice to marginalised people with lived experience to take agency over their own health journey; we do this by making funny, shocking, memorable, affecting pieces of art, using creative letter writing, memoir and drama.

Courses

Creativity courses to create a time capsule, to transform and get back in touch with yourself, and enjoy what's on your doorstep.

Stories

Podcasts, theatre, writing, graphic novel, prose.

Arts&health Projects

Bringing research and ideas to life, to stimulate debate and discussion, imaginative evaluation and public engagement.

2BU Productions’ projects are a bridge between creativity and health.

We specialise in:

At 2BU Productions, we wish you health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are continuing to strive for ways to keep learning and listening, to use our knowledge and experience, so that we can be of service any way we can.

Our Team

Our  team is female led and made up of award winning professionals and consultants working in the creative industries, academia, medicine, TV, theatre or on-line. We work with organisations such as The Wellcome Trust, The Heritage Lottery Fund, Nailsea Town Council, West of England Centre of Inclusive Living, EHCAP, Arts&Health South West, Theatre Orchard, The Technology Strategy Board, Bristol, Bath, Exeter and many other universities, Arts Council England, Discovering Blackdown Project, Regional Development Agency, the NHS and the BBC.

We strive for diversity by supporting artists and members of the public with lived experience, who might be disabled, vulnerable and/or neuro-diverse or marginalised in some way. We work to enable their personal experience – their ‘little whispers’ to influence every aspect of our work from inspiration to evaluation.

Thank you so much all our funders, we are truly grateful, in particular to Arts Council England, for helping us make a difference by bringing creativity and exemplary art works to the lives of many people with lived experience, as well as those working within arts and healthcare.

 
 

Diary

September 2021

Silva Lining’s Care Plan
Our podcast audio drama is out! It’s free and ready to listen to. Find it at  https://elspeth4.podbean.com

 

Your Creative Sparkle We’re back for some more artful disruption THIS Thursday 9 Sept 7-8pm Letter to my Superhero and Other Friends: 3 workshops Sign Up. Workshops are free & stand alone. And if you couldn’t make it along last week, but would like to watch that’s fine! Pick a superhero you’d like to work with, and consider a couple of traits they have, then watch the video of this workshop on Vimeo…Letter to my Inner Super Hero

 
Silva Lining’s Care Plan
Our podcast audio drama Silva Lining’s Care Plan is being launched on Sept 21st at 7pm online. 
Come to the launch, featuring speakers in the area of research into dementia carers, Professor Justine Schneider, Principal Research Fellow Dons Coleston-Shields whose specialism is neuropsychology of dementia, plus Trevor Clower, Carers Road Show and chaired by Alex Coulter. Come to the Silva Lining’s Care Plan Launch
 
We’re excited to share any updates and links with you – so do sign up here: Get updates on Silva
#audiodrama #podcast #caregivers 
 #alzheimers

August 2021

Our podcast audio drama Silva Lining’s Care Plan is being launched on Sept 21st at 7pm online – more about this coming soon!

ACE success Yippee, we have news – we have been awarded an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant to implement organisational development and creative development, spanning two years. Totally thrilled, thanks so much Arts Council England. We’ll be able to strengthen our model for developing quality arts projects that amplify unheard voices. On the creative development front, we’ll be able to develop three podcast showcase dramas and an actors’ forum; produce a completed podcast drama and publish a graphic novel. Can’t wait to get stuck in! I hope that you will get involved in some way too, we’ll have workshops, shows, content and workshops to share and are on the look out for new collaborations and to deepen our existing ones, as ever.

July 2021

Letter to My Kidney: This month I was honoured and moved to facilitate an introductory exploration for the initial ideas with some informed, wise folk who have a wide variety of lived experience of kidney disease. 2BU are further developing a collaboration and new arts-health project with two clinician researchers Dr Barny Hole and Dr Lucy Plumb from University of Bristol.

 

Free letter making workshop: Everyone is welcome to this event – sign up!

💥POW!💥

Get in touch with your inner superhero with writer and arts-health practitioner, @elpethpennywriter, in these fun and free to attend letter making workshops – one a week for three weeks on Thursdays at 7pm in September.

Rediscover the lost art of letter writing in this introduction to artful disruption

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/letter-to-my-superhero-and-other-friends-tickets-160614938605

June 2021

I heard the wonderful Rita Charon on a zoom meeting  say: “Truth cannot be told in words” – and she continued to say that words can be part of telling the truth, but we also need visual arts, dance, nature, so that we can understand our own living experience, and then witness that of others.

Our letter making embraces this principle. In relation to this, I have a development meeting (in person, horray!) coming up with two clinicians Dr Barny Hole and Dr Lucy Plumb, concerning a collaboration, using letters for kidney patients and their families.

May 2021

I am now alumni of the fabulous National Arts Fundraising course 2021!

Silva Lining’s Care Plan, our podcast play is undergoing another edit, it’s starting to sound really good. Can’t wait to show off about it! Thank you Arts Council England and our other supporters, we’re so grateful for your help in making this happen.

Delighted to announce that our play ‘Out Like Fudge’ will be translated and performed in Denmark in November 2021 (postponed from last year due to Covid). The play is called: Ikke mere udenomsnak in Danish! More about this here: Out Like Fudge

Also, I’m excited to be asked to be part of a superb 4 women team to co-facilitate a two day GP residential for Royal Free Hospital VTS Specialist Training Scheme.

 

April 2021

As the UK opens up and we can see a few friends again, the sun has helped make April at 2BU joyful. This month has been about studying, setting things up and nurturing seedling projects. My heart goes out to India and all the people suffering there; may things improve fast and our governments learn important lessons. To get our news about our podcast in edit sign up here: https://2buproductions.org/Silvaliningscareplanpodcast

 

March 2021

Our podcast, Silva Lining’s Care Plan, is being edited. I’m so proud of the all the performers, who did such a great job during the recording.
 

How things go around and build, once we’ve been on this planet for a while! Work from years ago continues to reappear and be rekindled, especially if it was fun and of value.

I’ve been teaching at Durham University and University of Bristol this last week, sometimes on the same day. Quirks of lockdown! Really wonderful actually to see lots of young faces on my screen and to hear their thoughts. At Durham, I ran some workshops on narrative for about 50 Anthropology students, for Professor Andrew Russell and his Tobacco module. Very fun and interesting and took me back to my Anthropology degree in dusty old rooms in Cambridge. Also I was taken back to setting up and teaching a narrative module at (what used to be called) Norwich University of the Arts for Suzie Hannah. God I loved that job.

It’s been great getting into that material again from a different perspective. Andrew and I were both involved with Life of Breath Project up to 2020, and hope to continue to build a collaboration. 

At 2BU, we’ve been making some exciting plans for the future of the company, including doing a bit of funding bid writing…

 

February 2021

We’re excited to show Elspeth’s write up of Bournville Tapestries, it looks great!! Commissioned by Arts and Health South West and Theatre Orchard, it’s been brilliant to be involved in bringing this account of a communities response. Text from Theatre Orchard:
 

The Bournville Tapestry brings together a series of stories inspired
by Community Connections, a creative social prescribing programme
developed with and for this locality.  The stories span the time before
and after the COVID-19 emergency and lockdown of Spring 2020.

The Bournville Tapestry represents a fraction of the stories that
could be told. The stories were gathered through a series of individual
zooms with writer, Elspeth Penny, in August and September 2020. Often
vibrant and passionate, the Bournville Tapestry is about different
points of view, sometimes entertaining and always illuminating.

It is a tapestry of a seascape with lots of loose threads,
unfinished. As time goes on more threads can be gathered. Not all
stories have been able to be included, so there may be holes in the
tapestry. Perhaps by continuing to listen to stories from different
perspectives, we may mend some of those holes, and perhaps avoid a fixed
ending, at least for now.

Find out more about the Bournville Tapestry 

December 2020

We are currently recording our podcast drama, Silva Lining’s Care Plan, having attracted a phenomenal cast. A previous edit of the script was longlisted for the Women’s Prize in Playwriting in August.

Secondly, Elspeth was commissioned to compile and write an evaluation report, in the shape of stories, about a social prescribing programme in Weston Super Mare’s South Ward, funded by Arts and Health South West and Theatre Orchard. She has interviewed participants, managers and workshop facilitators: we expect wide interest in the report.

Thirdly, we have been commissioned by Futures2020, (and funded by the European Commission) to run “Letter to my Kidney”, a participatory project and development of our letter writing initiative. Along with clinician/researcher Barny Hole, we have been working with kidney patients: older people, children, donors, patients on dialysis and a clinician. Using the old-fashioned communication methods of phone calls and letter writing in a world where zoom currently rules, we asked for a simple letter to start with, then as participants got used to the idea, we sent them art packs to help them create a series of Letters to my Kidney/s. We find the results touching and illuminating – available until 11th December https://futures2020.co.uk/futures-exhibits/

Or you can view our trailer here: Letter to My Kidney

November 2020

This first week of the month, I send out envelopes to participants in our new participatory project, Write a Letter to my Kidney/s as part of #Futures2020 with University of Bristol. Working again with fabulous clinician Barny Hole.

 

October 2020

We’re casting and starting to record Silva Lining’s Care Plan. It’s a superb cast, which we’ll be announcing soon. The first day of recording was awesome, but we’re saving up to tell you all about it, a bit further down the line.

 

September 2020

This week we were pleased to hear that Silva Lining’s Care Plan made it to a long list of scripts for the Women’s Prize for Playwriting. The draft we sent in was the last draft of our work in progress theatre script. It’s a podcast in production now, and even better!
Lovely feedback – ‘An interesting interrogation into care and neglect, especially surrounding the moral dilemmas of dementia care. The characters were funny and burst off the page – even Brain is full of charisma. I was a big fan of the play’s surreal elements.’
Find out more about the @SilvaCareLining #audiodrama #audiofiction #podcast read “The Story https://2buproductions.org/silva-linings-care-plan…/

 

August 2020

We’re making a drama podcast. Elspeth has been working with dramaturg Sara Davies, and the script has been getting better each time. Charlotte and Elspeth have been working on how to reach and serve our audience best. Euan McAleece (Maco) is working up a storm as Series Producer and Sound Engineer for the project.

 

June 2020

We’re honoured to have received funding from Arts Council England, to further a number of projects. One of these is to make our play Silva Lining’s Care Plan into a podcast. The play is about carers and care, so is highly topical – and a hugely important area to explore in these tricky Covid times.

May 2020

We’re excited to be making a free course in creative letter writing, Writing Without Rules. Get creative, get back to hand writing. For year 6,7 and 8 pupils (age 10-12) and their families. Great for home-schooling.

April 2020

Sending you all our warmest wishes for this tricky time. Keep safe, be well.

Here’s our last new newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/f34a48e18617/lockdown-and-the-coming-out-of-the-red-shoes

January 2020

Here’s a January blog post, featuring all the latest for Catch Your Breath Bristol including a virtual walk through of the exhibiton:

Catch Your Breath Exhibition and events, Winter 2019-20

2019 Nov

Script-writing: wonderful to be working with clinician Barny Hole at Bristol University to create script material using original data, and to direct them into short, acted vignettes, to act as focal points for discussion. These have been performed by actors at two events, a PPI day (patient and public involvement) in Fishponds, and a clinical conference at the Wills building in central Bristol. For more, see our Project page.

Catch Your Breath exhibition and workshop programme https://catchyourbreath.org/catch-your-breath-moves-to-bristol  has had a vibrant present in Bristol since September, for Life of Breath Project, starting with a launch at Southmead and many other activities. Some lovely feedback: 

‘A brilliant range of events, inventive and intelligent’. 

‘You were a great speaker – audible, succinct, interesting and measured (steady presence).’

‘What a rich, diverse and interesting array of exhibits and stories!’ 

Graphic novel: Elspeth’s own creative practice as an artist has recently been on her graphic novel, working with the steadying second opinion from graphic novelist Rachael Ball. She presented her work to 35 artists at the Laydeez do Comics meeting in Bristol in October. For more, see our Project page.

2019 July

In July, we ran a workshop, Elspeth, along with Dr Gene Feder and Dr Alice Malpass at the Storytelling for Health conference in Swansea. On display at the festival was “Suspended Breath” by Louise Jenkins, an art work which has been inspired by our Letter to the the Breath project. There was also the launch of a new paper by Alice and Elspeth freshly published in a special festival edition – Storytelling, Self and Society.

2019 June

Over Spring, Elspeth has been fortunate to have been nourished on a series of creative residentials, with storytelling as an ongoing theme. All of these have brought here own creative practice together with a wider storytelling for transformation theme.

  1. The first was Arts and Health South West’s Spring School on Storytelling and Young people’s mental health – an intensive residential school for health professionals, researchers and arts practitioners in a beautiful location in Dorset. Time for collaboration, action learning, and experimental practice.
  2. The second was Storyworks for film makers, at Cherry Orchards Bristol looking at the stories that tell us, “the descent”, then restorying the World with Kanada Gorla and Tina Sharman, organised for women film makers by Bristol film maker Esther May Campbell.
  3. The third was a graphic novel residency, run by Laydeez do Comics – which supportive critical feedback and clear direction from a small focused group. This was an inspiring, fun and creative weekend in the countryside near Grantham with graphic novelists Rachael Ball, Charlotte Bailey, Lou Crosby, Wallis Eates and Nicola Streeten, and Corinne Pearlman, Editor in Chief at Myriad Editions.

2019 April

Elspeth has a new temporary role, as one of two Exhibition Consultants for Life of Breath Project’s end of project exhibition ‘Catch Your Breath’ at Southmead hospital and beyond. She will be working part time alongside Dr Catherine Lamont Robinson, artist, researcher and honorary lecturer in the School of Social and Community Medicine at University of Bristol… we’ve had a number of wonderful first meetings. We can’t wait to get deep into the discussions, plans, ideas and practicalities of bringing them all into being along with other artists, clinicians and academics and staff at Southmead hospital.

2019 Delighted to announce that a new paper written by Elspeth Penny and Dr Alice Malpass, is now available Open Access: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17533015.2018.1555178. (Taylor Francis online). This comes out of our work with Wellcome Trust funded Life of Breath project. It is also due to be published in an issue of Arts & Health. 

2018-19  We’ve won funding from Life of Breath Project to pilot Letter to the Breath creative workshops in 3 schools.

2018 We won Arts Council England National Lottery funding to write, direct and preview a theatre play – Silva Lining’s Care Plan. Based on anonymised diaries kept by paid home carers who work with people with dementia, the work explores the world of the paid carer with the help of live music, plenty of mischief and a dose of tenderness. Special thanks to our partner Professor Justine Schneider at Nottingham University and all our wonderful cast and team, it’s been such fun. Onwards now to the next phase….

See trailer: Silva Lining trailer

Silva Lining’s Care Plan, our podcast play is undergoing another edit, it’s starting to sound really good. I am going to be proud and I can’t wait to show off about it.

 
 

 

 
 

 on

Testimonials

This is an award for the whole extended Life of Breath team, including your brilliant work with Alice! ... on the 2018 Heath Humanities Medal Inspiration Award that Life of Breath won.
Havi Carel
Professor of Philosophy, University of Bristol and Lead Investigator of Life of Breath Project, funded by the Wellcome Trust
Thanks very much for the workshop and for these notes. I thought your room was buzzing with creativity and I loved how you introduced people to the ideas. I watched you working with xxx who gave the most bizarre answers (breath sounds like a lawnmower... !) and was really moved to see how gentle and non-prescriptive you were. I loved the pieces I saw (the box, the COPD one).
Havi Carel
Professor of Philosophy, University of Bristol and Lead Investigator of Life of Breath Project
Your work has integrity, spark, deep undertones and wit, the work and you both have much to offer the world through your vision and writing.
Dr Alice Malpass
Senior Researcher, Bristol Medical School
Everyone involved as Commissioners of care services or as carers should immerse themselves in this play. You will forever see "Caring" in a new light. I was immediately captivated by the scene and the setting - familiar to me as a GP. Difficulty in gaining access to the patient’s house using door codes has been part of my lived experience for many years.
Dr Malcolm Rigler
GP (retired), Arts&health Campaigner
I have read the new Silva script. I so enjoyed it. The pace, the humour, the narrative – all came across vividly…I find that it drama continues to convery aspects of our research better than any other medium
Professor Justine Schneider
Professor of Mental Health and Social Care, University of Nottingham
Silva Lining’s Care Plan is a wonderful and moving exploration of the complex relationship between carer and cared for. Both heart-rending and laugh-out-loud, it takes you on a roller-coaster of an emotional journey through Silva Lining’s story, with many an amusing aside from her Brain.
Alex Coulter
Director, Arts & Health South West. Chair, Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance
On an event we ran at The Arnolfini, Carmen remembers it two years later: "I went to something at the Arnolfini a few years ago, it was amazing - each of the guests and artists we were participating with were great. The whole thing was enlightening and inspiring and fun. I remember a dancer and Chris from Green Ginger showing us puppet breath. I still have my paper thing, an origami ball…”
Carmen Gabriele
Tobacco Factory staff member
The conversation between Silva Lining and her carer, the profound insights and astonishing puppetry engaged me throughout out.
Professor Gene Feder
Professor of primary health care Centre for Academic Primary Care Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School

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