Actors are being invited to record love-themed monologues as part of an initiative by Tamasha theatre company to boost the morale of frontline NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Supported by Equity, the #NHSLove campaign aims to share uplifting messages through Twitter, which NHS workers will be able to dip into whenever they can.
Performers are invited to record a monologue, poem or speech from one to three minutes long on the theme of love and share on Twitter with the hashtag #NHSLove.
Those already confirmed to take part include EastEnders actor Balvinder Sopal, who will be recording a biblical extract, and Asif Khan, who will perform a comic speech from Love, Bombs and Apples by Hassan Abdulrazzak.
Daniel York Loh, Karen Bartke, Nicholas Khan, Danusia Samal, Grace Cordell, Stefanie Reynolds, Kammy Darweish and Jennifer Lim are also among those confirmed to take part. They have chosen speeches from plays by Chloë Moss and James Fritz, and poems by Wendy Cope, Rabindranath Tagore and Hu Shih.
Actors who want to take part can browse a selection of suggested texts curated by Tamasha or choose their own, as long as they are love-themed.
Tamasha is also inviting playwrights to submit new or existing texts and is able to link actors with its directors to create #NHSLove pieces.
Artistic director of Tamasha, Fin Kennedy, said: “I was particularly moved by the experiences of one of our Tamasha Playwrights group, Shaan Sahota, who is also a junior doctor on the frontline of coronavirus critical care.
“She and her colleagues are bearing the brunt of this epidemic, and the theatre industry joins the rest of the country in applauding from our doorsteps their bravery and sacrifice.
“#NHSLove is one small way in which we can give something back while theatres are temporarily closed, and we hope will show how much we appreciate their work.”
Sahota added: “Working on the front line is an isolating experience – we can barely speak to each other through our layers of stifling PPE, and we’ve all had to give up physical touch for infection control.
“Working in ICU my patients are all unconscious and paralysed, their families can’t visit, and I don’t get to tell them we’re doing everything we can for them. It’s a very difficult disease to watch and live through.”
She added: “Your #NHSLove idea is just so sweet, a respite from sadness with a reminder of that connection we are so desperately missing right now. It’s a lonely time to work in healthcare and I think everyone working in the NHS will be so warmed by the reminder that people see us and will appreciate such an uplifting love letter.”
Matt Hood, Equity’s assistant general secretary, said: “Equity is pleased to give its backing to this initiative from Tamasha theatre. We hope as many members as possible will be able to find time to take part and submit a piece of work to #NHSLove.
“In these challenging times it is so important that we show our gratitude and appreciation for the people at the sharp end of this crisis fighting to save lives on a daily basis.”
Full details of how to take part can be found on Tamasha’s website.