Real dramas behind play on cancer

Joanna Nicks and Helen Bradbury rehearsing Genesis
Joanna Nicks and Helen Bradbury rehearsing Genesis
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A new play that looks at how a scientist copes with breast cancer is coming to Doncaster as part of a project to raise awareness of the disease.

Genesis has been put together by Forward Theatre, working with Britain’s only charity that backs research into a cure for breast cancer, and two Coronation Street actresses who have fought the disease themselves. One lost her battle this year.

Director Charlotte Bennett said: “It certainly makes you think. It’s about the human side to the science behind genetic testing.”

Genesis follows scientist Rachel who works in the field of breast cancer research and thinks she has thought through all the issues on the subject.

But everything changes when she finds out that she has a genetic mutation that can increase the risk of breast cancer and has a 50-50 chance of being a gene carrier.

She might have passed that gene on to her 18-year-old daughter, who will have to decide how much she wants to know about the risk to her and any children she has.

Charlotte said: “Her daughter is at a very different point in her life and knowing this information is very different for her.

“There’s a lot more emotional implications about being a carrier than Rachel ever thought there would be.”

She added: “It’s not a comedy but these are real people and the relationship between mother and daughter is funny at times.

“It’s not an issue-based drama, it’s just seeing some real people doing some real things.”

The play was inspired by Manchester-based charity Prevent Breast Cancer, the only UK breast cancer charity funding research aimed at preventing the disease.

Charlotte said that the charity gave Forward Theatre free range in creating the show.

She said putting forward different points of view helps to create a discussion about all the issues the play touches on.

She and writer Frazer Flintham spent two years talking to medical experts as well as patients and their families.

Coronation Street star Morag Siller, who worked with the charity, helped to develop the project. Sadly, she died this April from breast cancer.

Morag’s co-star and breast cancer survivor Sally Dynevor, who plays Sally Metcalfe, has taken over as project advocate.

The tour includes post-show discussions and a photographic exhibition of breast cancer survivors, showing their bodies with and without breast reconstruction.

In Doncaster, the theatre company are working with the town’s Aurora Wellbeing Centre to offer a day’s pampering to breast cancer patients.

Genesis is at Cast next Thursday, November 24. Box office: at the venue, online at Cast in Doncaster or call 01302 303959.