Breathing Spaces

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

Our Performing Arts Programme at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust brings a diverse range of participatory projects, co-curated with staff and patients, to meet specific clinical needs.

In addition, we deliver Breathing Spaces, an extensive live performance programme across 80 healthcare locations, which contribute to a more welcoming and relaxing environment. Annually we are proud to engage 50,000 people through 1,400 projects and events. 

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!

Guy's and St Thomas' Patient

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 Guy’s and St Thomas’.

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. Check out our news page and social media for the latest season announcements and performance line ups.

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


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 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

Breathing Spaces during COVID-19

Find a place for an online Breathing Space, as they have gone digital! Our fabulous Breathe Artists share their short pop-up performances online, to help you relax and recharge at home.

Try and find the time to take a minute for yourself this week, and check out our range of Breathing Spaces videos on YouTube for a moment of music, magic, dance or poetry.

Why not have a listen to our Wellbeing Playlists, specially commissioned music to help NHS staff recharge, unwind and take a Breathing Space, or get creative by taking part in our new Wellbeing Workshops.

The Breathe performances are excellent. They take my mind away from a busy, stressful day. It gives me a chance to pause and re-energise for whatever the afternoon throw at me!

Guy's and St Thomas' staff member

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, and experience for yourself in our Breathing Spaces overview film below.


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 below 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.

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.

* Evaluation Report 2013, Annabel Jackson Associates Ltd