Breathing Spaces

The power of live performance brings anxiety levels down and sends smiles soaring.

Our Performing Arts Programme is a suite of participatory music, dance, poetry and other arts projects that improve NHS staff, patients’ and local communities health and wellbeing.

We do this through a diverse range of evidence-based Performing Arts Programmes, co-created with clinicians in order to deliver specific health outcomes.


Live performances

We run a varied programme of regular performances at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Based on research that the arts can significantly reduce anxiety levels, encourage relaxation and help with pain relief, our free performances including music, dance, theatre, poetry, puppetry and magic invite you to enjoy a Breathing Space, and are run in all areas of the Trust.

From our weekly public performances to our surprise innovative mini pop-up performances, we contribute to a more welcoming healthcare environment, offering experiences you don’t usually have in hospital. To see our latest Performing Arts season download our digital brochure..

We also bring live music to inpatients and outpatients in clinical units, wards and waiting areas daily. Our musicians’ sessions help calm and cheer patients pre/post-op and during treatments such as dialysis. You can find out about our current resident musicians here.

The Performing Arts programme at Guy’s and St Thomas’ is delivered by Breathe Arts Health Research and made possible with support from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

It changes your attitude towards a hospital, so it’s not just a place where you come when you are ill, but somewhere where you can come for something that is joyful and inspiring and does you good!

Anita Jackson – Patient


of audience members at our lunchtime performances and 83% of those from our inpatient and outpatient performances said the music made them feel happy, calm or relaxed.*

We asked patient, staff, visitors and artists who have experienced Breathing Spaces on what they thought of the programme. Click here to find out what they told us.

We find that patients' blood pressure and heart rates are lower when the musicians are here.

Jennifer Riordan, Staff Nurse, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust


Are you a musician, dancer, poet or other performing artist? Interested in working with us to make hospitals brighter places to be? Glad to hear it. Please click for details.


If you’re interested in bringing any elements of the Breathe Performing Arts programme to your hospital or NHS trust, we’d love to get involved.

* Evaluation Report 2013, Annabel Jackson Associates Ltd