As theatre reviewers we tend to focus on the script, score and cast of the shows we see. Production Directors are as anonymous to an audience as they are omnipresent to the cast during rehearsals. Yet their role is pivotal to a production’s success. Their insight, their vision, is what the audience has laid before it. Artistic Directors, as well as invariably producing and directing some shows personally, also welcome visiting productions and one nighters. They determine what the audience sees in their theatre.
Derby Theatre’s renaissance in recent years has coincided with the tenure of Sarah Brigham as Artistic Director. From relative regional obscurity she has established the theatre as a learning, and community, hub in conjunction with Derby University, and a place that offers the best of touring productions, as well as a formidable roster of in house productions. She has made a difference.
Sarah has found herself in the unwelcome position of being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Notwithstanding the best efforts of the NHS, a treatment not available in this country is required. Unsurprisingly, the professional and personal esteem in which she is held has resulted in a campaign to raise funds to assist her. The details follow. If you are able to help, please do via her crowdfunding page:
Weʼre raising £60,000 to get Sarah Brigham the cancer treatment she needs
What is crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a new type of fundraising where you can raise funds for your own personal cause, even if you’re not a registered charity.
The page owner is responsible for the distribution of funds raised.
As lots of you now know, our friend Sarah Brigham has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She has a 6cm tumour in her trachea. The cancer is adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) and only two in a million people have this type of cancer in the UK. The cancer is slow growing but relentless, and so it’s important that it is stopped in its tracks as soon as possible.
The best way to treat Sarah’s cancer would be surgery. Unfortunately, due to the size and location of Sarah’s tumour, this is not an option for her. This type of cancer doesn’t respond to chemotherapy and has limited response to normal radiotherapy.
There’s no escaping the fact that this is all devastating. But in true Brigham fashion, she is dealing with it like a bad-ass superhero. The amount of research, questioning and chasing of medical professionals that Sarah has done, whilst coming to terms with all of this, whilst also running a theatre and continuing to support artists, young people, friends and colleagues around her, is admirable… incredible… unbelievable… (there is no word big enough here to sum up her response thus far to this outrage of an illness).
And she remains very much herself. To quote Sarah:
“On the positive side (there has to be one right!) I physically feel ok and I remain positive. If you see me you wouldn’t know I have this 6 cm tumour in my windpipe. I’m still working, still laughing, still putting the world to rights and still talking in a broad Hull accent. So Cancer is not winning!”
But Sarah cannot and should not fight this on her own. Here’s where you all come in…
The best treatment option is Carbon Ion Therapy, which will hopefully stop the cancer from growing or spreading and may offer the best long term prognosis. But here’s the spanner in the frankly crappy works: this treatment is not funded by the NHS. Sarah will have to travel to Germany to receive the treatment, and to do this, she needs to raise £60,000. *Gulp* *Pause* *Gulp*
It’s a huge amount of money, but so many people have been in touch to say how much you want to support her, so we’re actually going to try and make this happen.
How do I help raise the money?
60k is a lot of money right? But what if 100 people pledged to raise £600 each? What if 1,000 people pledged £60 each? What if you donate an hour’s wages? A day’s wages? A week’s? Cut out a coffee a day for a month and donate that money! Feeling sweary? Get a swear jar on the go! £1 for slightly bad words and £5 for the really bad ones.. and so on….
If it’s legal, do it, if you can have fun at the same time – even better!
You can help as follows:
1. Contribute directly to this fundraising page
2. Donate via PayPal, fee free: http://www.paypal.me/BrigAid
3. Give cold hard cash to Nicky or Heidi in the Derby Theatre offices
4. Want to put on your own event? Great! We’ve put together some guidelines
Most importantly! Share, shout and shout some more! We have set up a Brig-Aid facebook page, which we will use to for updates and sharing your fundraising adventures. Like the page if you are on facebook and please share far and wide across as many platforms as you can, with your networks, friends, family, neighbours, rich distant cousin…
Important: If you have any questions or ideas relating to the fundraising campaign, please send them all to firstname.lastname@example.org rather than bombard Sarah with messages and emails. Team Brig-Aid will be monitoring emails and will run things by Sarah if we need to.
Sarah is aiming to start the treatment in June, however we have set a target to raise 60K in 12 weeks. Following that this page will be extended after the deadline if we need to continue raising funds.
Who knows what the next steps will be after Sarah’s treatment in Heidelberg, so please keep sharing and shouting. And as you’d expect, Sarah, in all of her generosity, has already started thinking about where she will donate any surplus funds to.
Team Brig-Aid assemble!
Much love and thanks,