Both Sides Now

April 18th, 2019 Posted in Hospice News
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Rowans Psychology & Bereavement Service Lead, Paul Beadon talks about “Both Sides Now”, a play based on bereavement, loss and moving on.

Both Sides Now will be performed at The Spring on Friday 26th April. Tickets are available to purchase from the The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, either in person, by telephoning 023 9247 2700 or via their website


Both Sides Now: the creation of a play exploring grief, resilience and the rebuilding of a life

Brian Daniels is a playwright renowned for crafting plays that explore complex human experiences through the lenses of everyday people. His work has included examinations of the impact of abuse, dementia, the effects of impoverished health and social care systems on the human spirit, and the transformative effects of cancer and motor neurone disease upon real people.

Two years ago, Brian attended a conference at which one of my colleagues, Dr Gemima Fitzgerald, was speaking on the topic of resilience. Gemima is a Clinical Psychologist who specialises in end of life care and bereavement and who has worked with our Psychology Team at Rowans Hospice. Brian and Gemima began talking about the therapeutic work we provide at the hospice to people who are living with a life-shortening illness, to their families and carers, and to the bereaved.

Gemima and Brian also spoke about some of the challenges and struggles that Gemima has lived through in her own life and the alchemy by which she has been able to turn these experiences into a resilience and compassion for others that has infused her work in end of life and bereavement care.

This conversation formed the basis for Brian to begin writing the play Both Sides Now.

Since the themes of bereavement, resilience, and personal growth that the play sought to explore resonated so deeply with the work of Rowans Hospice, we agreed to commission Brian’s work so that performances of the play could form part of Rowans’ 25th Anniversary celebrations this year. The theme of resilience is especially important to us as we reflect on the past 25 years and look forward to the next 25 years of the hospice’s work.

The play has evolved considerably since Brian’s first conversations with Gemima and I have had the privilege of bearing witness to some of Brian’s creative process as he has worked on the story and the characters. Ruth White (Rowans CEO) and I have enjoyed a series of meetings and email conversations with Brian in which we have shared with him many of the themes and lessons that we have encountered over years of listening to the stories of the patients and families that we have cared for.

Brian has artfully woven elements of these conversations into his poignant story of a woman, Jenny, who, having already experienced many hurts and losses in her life, loses her best friend, Simon, to cancer. The play charts Jenny’s journey as she strives to learn how to live with her grief, draw resilience from her pain, and integrate this learning into her self and her future.

Rowans Hospice is proud to be hosting the premiere performance of Both Sides Now at The Spring in Havant on Friday 26th of April.

The play will be delivered in a ‘radio play style’, with professional actors reading the parts.

There will be an afternoon and an early evening performance. Each performance will be followed by an invitation for the audience to ask questions and share their reflections; I look forward to facilitating this part of proceedings.


There are still tickets available for both performances and we would love you to join us.

Tickets are available here:


Dr Paul Beadon,

Consultant Clinical Psychologist,

Rowans Psychology & Bereavement Service Lead

I was honoured and privilege to be commissioned by Rowans Hospice to create a play to commemorate their 25th anniversary.  Ruth White the CEO had previously seen three of my plays about compassionate healthcare and she particularly wanted to look at resilience and bereavement.  Paul has articulated the process so well in his blog.

To write the play I drew on some of my own experiences of grief – losing my closest friend to terminal cancer less than 3 years ago – he would never accept that he was dying hence many things between us were left unspoken.  I hope the play creates some of the conversations we might have had.  As one ages, then the loss of family and friends is, sadly more commonplace.  How do we integrate the gaps left by those we lose into our daily lives?  How do we build resilience to deal with the anniversaries, the longing to pick up the phone to hear the voice of someone we have loved and lost and who can replace those who have been witnesses of our own lives?

I hope the play explores some of the facets of love and loss – not moving on but integrating the past into our present.

The play has humour – there is humour in all of life – it looks at very real people and situations that we can all relate to.  I hope it can be performed to help enable people to share their stories and to engage with characters who I hope we will all recognise!


Brian Daniels

Chief Executive/Artistic Director

Pluto Productions

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