Living and Dying.
Both sides of a continuum,
Perceived through multiple perspectives.
What else will you see after this?
The first edition of Both Sides, Now was commissioned by Lien Foundation and Ang Chin Moh Foundation, and co-produced by ArtsWok and Drama Box. It featured a three-week-long immersive arts experience at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital featuring eight artworks including installation, film, drama/verbatim theatre and participatory arts activities on living and dying, in addition to talks by subject matter experts. A related workshop using drama techniques on facilitating end-of-life conversations was offered to healthcare staff from the north cluster of the regional health system. Due to an overwhelming response, the arts experience was subsequently extended by a month, and managed by staff of the hospital.
Overall, audiences had a positive experience of the immersive arts experience as they found it accessible, relevant, and resonated strongly with them. Over the three weeks and the subsequent month-long extension, the immersive arts experience reached out to an estimated 8000 audiences comprising healthcare workers, caregivers, patients, and the public.
More than 95% of audiences randomly surveyed expressed understanding and relatability to the themes and topics explored in the experience, and about 90% indicated that they believe the experience had helped them better understand end-of-life issues. More than 70% of audiences also indicated they intended to follow up on the topics after the experience.
This first edition of the project also recruited and trained close to 70 volunteers of all ages, and walks of life to support the immersive arts experience, and engagement with audiences. Some volunteers also facilitated the participatory artworks on site.
This positive reception to the first public outreach on a sensitive and taboo topic of end-of-life signalled to the project Creative Team and partners that the public welcomed and desired more opportunities to explore, and talk openly about end-of-life matters. The arts approach also resonated strongly with audiences, and was successful in creating stimulating, yet safe spaces for reflection and response.