A playwright and doctor has launched a new podcast featuring the dramatised stories of people working at her hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The weekly six-part podcast, Unmasked, is an artistic response to the coronavirus crisis that will focus on members of staff at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London.
Serena Haywood, who is a senior consultant paediatrician at the hospital as well as a writer and producer, is behind the project.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Haywood was redeployed to the medical examiner’s office, where her role is to support doctors with death certification and talk with the bereaved. Haywood is also a peer supporter for doctors with the British Medical Association.
Each episode of the podcast is based on interviews by Haywood with people working at the hospital, including porters, doctors working in intensive care, cleaners and security staff.
Haywood said she wanted to “find a way of sharing the extraordinary and often tragic events she encountered daily during the Covid-19 peak”.
“From cleaners, security, nurses, doctors and patients the stories of professionalism and sacrifice are unique, profoundly moving and ultimately full of hope showing the person behind the mask, the heroes we have clapped for. Dramatising them helps to bring those stories to full life and I hope will also be therapeutic for those kind people who gave their stories so freely,” she said.
The stories have been dramatised by Haywood and Torchwood and Doctor Who writer Joseph Lidster, and will be bought to life by actors, with casting yet to be announced.
The team creating the podcasts and the actors will be donating their time free, to raise money through donations for the St George’s Hospital Charity and the Actors’ Benevolent Fund.
Working on Unmasked alongside Haywood and Lidster are director, technical director and sound editor Neil J Byden and production assistant Davie Byden-Oakes. The podcast will feature compositions by Lemon and Franner Otter.
It will be broadcast across platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify, with the first episode to be released on July 3.
Unmasked is a Serena Haywood Production in association with St George’s Hospital Charity.