Ambulance playwright hoping for scripting success with Restart a Heart mini film
13 October 2023
Thespians at Yorkshire Ambulance Service are going global to encourage people to learn the vital skills of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
The York-based Blue Light Theatre Company has produced a 90-second film which will be entered into a competition being run as part of the Cardiac Arrest Survival Summit in San Diego in America in November.
Produced in the style of a 1940s public information broadcast, the video plays on British stereotypes. It may be tongue-in-cheek but has a serious message – if you see someone who has collapsed and isn’t breathing, be assertive and start CPR.
The video, funded by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Charity, has been released to mark Restart a Heart Day on Monday 16 October 2023 and can be viewed here:
Jason Carlyon, Community Engagement Manager for Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “We have many tutorial resources teaching people how to perform CPR, but we wanted to do something more light-hearted to engage with people in a different way to mark our 10th anniversary of Restart a Heart Day.
“As the video will be feature in the competition alongside entries from around the world, we wanted to play on quirky British stereotypes to convey a serious message that when someone has a cardiac arrest, the worst thing you can do is nothing. You need to be assertive and act quickly to save a life.”
Yorkshire Ambulance Service approached colleague, ambulance dispatcher Perri Ann Barley, a playwright and member of the Blue Light Theatre Company, to write the script for the competition run by the Citizen CPR Foundation (CCPRF) and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation (SCAF). Her husband Craig, a paramedic of 24 years, also stars in the video, alongside other ambulance staff and fellow members of the Blue Light Theatre Company.
Perri, who has worked for Yorkshire Ambulance Service since 2001, appreciates how bystander CPR can make such a big difference when it comes to cardiac arrest survival rates.
She said: “It’s been so much fun writing, producing and performing in this film. It did have its challenges especially as, in order to be eligible for the competition, the film could be no longer than 90 seconds. I had so much material to put in but had to keep cropping it whilst making sure we didn’t lose the comedy, but more importantly the message we were trying to convey. We are absolutely thrilled with the result.”