Breathing Spaces - Breathe

Breathing Spaces

Our live performing arts programme at Guy’s and St Thomas’

Breathing Spaces brings extensive and diverse performances and events to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, to improve health and wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors.

From our weekly public performances, to surprise innovative pop-ups, we contribute to a more welcoming environment across 80 healthcare locations, offering high quality creative experiences whilst changing perceptions of hospital spaces.

Check out the range of Breathing Spaces performances we offer, below.

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 throws at me!
Guy's and St Thomas' Staff member

Lunchtime performances

Based on research that the arts can reduce anxiety levels, encourage relaxation and help with pain relief, our free performances that happen in the public spaces of the hospitals, invite staff, patients and visitors to take a break and enjoy a Breathing Space.

Weekly performances include live music, dance and theatre which celebrate diverse cultures and styles, and are performed by a range of professional artists and musicians.

See our overview film about the music we bring to Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals through our Breathing Spaces programme.

Resident Musicians

Breathe’s Resident Musicians play daily across Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals and community sites; on wards, outpatient units, clinics, waiting rooms, rest and recharge zones and public spaces, enriching the healthcare environment.

Our longstanding group of experienced musicians are experts in bringing music and interaction in a sensitive way. They uplift and calm spaces, creating meaningful and memorable encounters by improvising and adapting repertoire to individuals, in times of need.

Ulrica Nilsson (2008)* found that 30 minutes of music significantly reduces anxiety levels for patients awaiting surgery – this is the minimum time that our Resident Musicians play live music across Guy’s and St Thomas’ public, clinical and waiting areas.

Pre-surgery is an anxious time for patients, it is a noticeably pleasant and relaxed atmosphere when we have the pleasure of Breathe visits.
Guy's and St Thomas' Staff member

88%

88% 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

Pop-up performances

Breathe Resident Musicians and creative practitioners (including poets, magicians and visual artists) deliver surprise 1 minute ‘pop-up’ interactions in public spaces across all hospital sites, to encourage a moment of pause and recharge.

The concerts in the atrium, the harpist appearing on a landing, these things create a sense of delight that gets through to people. You need very visual aspects of the programme that work to create a sense of delight, and then people buy into it culturally.
Sir Hugh Taylor, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Chairman

Breathing Spaces online

During COVID-19 our fabulous Breathe artists have gone digital, and share their short pop-up performances online, to help our community relax and recharge at home. See our Breathing Spaces videos on YouTube for moments of music, magic, dance and poetry.

Frequently asked questions

We love to hear from musicians, dance companies and performers whose work would suit a hospital environment. Please do get in touch.

We are always looking to expand our Breathing Spaces programmes to other NHS Trusts, get in touch with Project Manager Natalie to find out more.

Our Partners

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 2020

Read 'Compassionate Care in a Year of Change', a full Evaluation Report on our Performing Arts Programme at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.

Find out more

References

Nilsson, Ulrica. (2008). The Anxiety- and Pain-Reducing Effects of Music Interventions: A Systematic Review. AORN journal. 87. 780-807. 10.1016/j.aorn.2007.09.013. [DOI].

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