The Superjohn Project, a product of a Big Idea Workshop on Belief, is a multilayered, social practice project exploring the power of imagination in dealing with adversity. Inspired by a true story and made in collaboration with patients, families and medical practitioners at the Whittington Hospital Pediatric Oncology unit, outcomes of the project included a new play for families, a book, workshops, and innovation in medical practice. I began by establishing the frame of devising a new play for family audiences, and proceeded to develop a series of interconnected activities putting artists and non-artists together in co-creative capacities. We spent six months on-site attending clinics and conducting workshops with doctors, patients, nurses, families, playworkers, and other related medical professionals.
The play Superjohn toured to festivals, village halls, theatres, and hospitals and was developed with support from the Unicorn Theatre, the Arts Council England, and the Wellcome Trust. We developed an online storybook version of Superjohn and an educational resource. The Superjohn project was used as a case study of the chapter “The Education of Nonstudents” in volume four of Rethinking Negotiation Teaching (DRI Press, Hamline University, 2013).
Superjohn loves to soar above the clouds. But one day…crash! His superpowers are stolen and he has to travel to a dangerous world to get them back… Laugh, shout, cry and join the adventure. Seen through the eyes of two children, John, a child with Leukemia, and his savior sister Star, Superjohn mixes fantasy and reality to explore how a child uses imagination in overcoming adversity.
★★★★ The Metro
“Cleverly and sensitively…engaging young minds with a fantastical story about mortality and the power of the imagination”
Co-created by Rachel Parish, Titania Krimpas and Nadia Malik
A trailer for the show:
A full video of a performance at St. Thomas’ Hospital:
An educational resource and storybook: