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Infected Blood Inquiry
Commemoration Event for Preliminary Hearings

The infection of up to 30,000 people with contaminated blood in the UK has been called the biggest treatment disaster in NHS history. During the 1970s and 80s people with haemophilia, bleeding disorders and those receiving transfusions were given blood products infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses. Nearly 3,000 people have so far died, with thousands more coping with the the awful legacy of this scandal. After decades of campaigning for justice and recognition by the infected and affected, a UK-wide inquiry is now finally underway. Hunter Gatherer was asked to develop and stage a commemorative event to open the Preliminary Hearings at Church House in Westminster.

"Ahead of the first Inquiry hearings, long-term campaigners asked the Inquiry team to start the first day with a commemoration. We were extremely fortunate to be introduced to Art Lewry who quickly grasped the enormous significance of this Inquiry finally starting after decades of ill health, emotional pain, and neglect", said Deputy Secretary to the Inquiry, Catherine Nalty. "Art worked sensitively with a small group of campaigners, drawing out their feelings about what had happened, and what they would like from the commemoration. Using his contacts, experience and expertise Art developed with their support what felt like a secular service, honouring both those who had died and those still living. Through memorable and creative use of hundreds of family photos, powerful interviews with people affected, song and poetry, Art set the tone for the Inquiry – respectful and deeply moving. Art also ensured that everyone attending the commemoration could participate by contributing to the permanent memorial. Meeting the expectations of hundreds of people was a complex challenge – but Art exceeded all expectations and produced a memorable and emotionally resonant event for the Inquiry participants."

For what must be the most moving and important sixty minutes we have ever produced, we combined a range of storytelling techniques to set the scene, reflect on what has happened and put the infected and affected right at the centre of the Inquiry from the start. Hunter Gatherer continues its relationship with the project, including curation of the ever-growing Memory Bank inquiry memorial at the Infected Blood Enquiry hearings in London.        

 

DIRECTION, DESIGN & PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT
Art Lewry, Hunter Gatherer

VIDEO PRODUCTION
Dan Parkes, Parkes Productions
Jack Beccegato, Zero kB

KEY EVENT CREW & PRODUCTION
Innes Compton, Production Manager
Jack Becegatto, Graphics
Jim Boutwood, Floor Manager
Tracy-Ann Ransom, Showcaller

Penelope Tull, Production Assistant

PERFORMERS
Isla Blair
David Robb
London Contemporary Voices
Lemn Sissay

STAGING
Robin Thompson, Double R Design
Spirit Design
System Sound & Light
Scena 
Alpha Crew