• 15-16 APRIL 2021

Grace Under Pressure

by David Williams & Paul Dwyer
in collaboration with the Sydney Arts & Health Collective

The Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts

$20 - $35

Past Event

Health professionals are with us when we’re born, and they’re with us when we die. They devote their lives to caring for us, but how do we care for them? Can a doctor or nurse give a patient the best possible care if he or she hasn’t slept for days? What if they are also being bullied or sexually harassed at work? What if they complain about having to work excessive hours, but are told to stop whinging and suck it up? How do they cope with the pressure?

Based on hours of in-depth interviews with doctors and nurses about their experiences of training and working in hospitals, Grace Under Pressure is a surprising, intimate, and deeply moving theatre experience that reveals these hidden stories of health professionals in their own words. Ranging from wildly funny to utterly heartbreaking, the stories within Grace Under Pressure will leave no audience member unaffected. Beautifully staged and disarmingly performed, Grace Under Pressure is a truly unique theatre experience.

Thursday 15th April post show talk panelists
Chair: Ruth Oakley, Monash University Performing Arts Centres
Associate Professor Gabrielle Brand
Dr Bev Woon
David Williams – Theatre Director, Grace Under Pressure
Cast member, Grace Under Pressure

Friday 16th April post show talk panelists
Chair: Tom Gutteridge, Monash University Performing Arts Centres
Danielle Najm
Professor Michelle Leech
David Williams – Theatre Director, Grace Under Pressure
Cast member, Grace Under Pressure

  • Dates & Times:

    Select a performance to proceed to seat selection

    • Thursday 15 April 2021, 7:30pm

    • Friday 16 April 2021, 2:00pm

  • Ticket Pricing

    Standard $35
    Monash Staff $29
    Monash Alumni $29
    Monash Student $20
    Group 8+ $29*

    *Please email boxoffice@monash.edu with your group booking requests.

    Standard $35
    Monash Staff $29
    Monash Alumni $29
    Monash Student $20
    Group 8+ $29*
  • Performance Information

    • Duration: 85 min + Q&A post performance

    • Venue: Alexander Theatre

    • Age suitability: 15+

    • Event warnings: Infrequent coarse language, mild sexual references, discussion of suicide, medical procedures and emergencies.

    • Things to note: *Capacity subject to change in line with government advice.

  • Venue Details

    Alexander Theatre:
    The Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts,
    48 Exhibition Walk, Clayton 3800

    Accessibility Information

‘Grace Under Pressure is greeted with passionate enthusiasm by its audience who have been amused, informed and moved. It is a work with a clear sense of social purpose, complexly enriched with the observations of those who are responsible for us in hospitals and whose own lives are subject to often inordinate pressures. We need to care for them. […] Grace Under Pressure should be seen widely, so that what is often just news becomes knowledge, becomes action.’
Keith Gallasch, RealTime

‘a very effective and affecting verbatim work exploring the dysfunctional culture of the healthcare system.’
Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald

‘A deeply moving work that is both hopeful and compelling’
Arts Review

‘Brutal and unflinching, yet told gently with humour, Grace Under Pressure is not easy to watch, only in so far as this is not fiction: the abuses that the healthcare workers face are happening every day in hospitals in every suburb, and will continue until changes are made’
Joy Minter, The Buzz From Sydney

Cast and Creative Team

Writers: David Williams & Paul Dwyer
Sydney Arts & Health Collective: Dr Claire Hooker, Associate Professor Louise Nash, Dr Karen Scott, Dr Kimberley Ivory, Dr Jo River, Professor Paul Macneill and Mr James Dalton
Performers: Meg Dunn, Tanya Schneider, Sal Sharah, Emily Taylor
Director: David Williams
Dramaturg: Paul Dwyer
Lighting Designer: Nicholas Higgins
Sound Designer: Gail Priest
Set & Costume Designer: Isabel Hudson

Post Show Q&A Panelists

Professor Michelle Leech
As Deputy Dean Medicine Professor Michelle Leech oversees the delivery of Monash’s flagship medical program across the Clayton, Gippsland and Malaysia campuses. Michelle ensures that the learning objectives and outcomes of both the direct and graduate entry degrees are aligned, and coordinates a range of academic initiatives for Monash medical students.

She is currently the Deputy Chair of the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria and Vice President of Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand. Michelle is the Head of the Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinic at Monash Health. She also maintains an active research profile as part of the rheumatology research group in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health. Her clinical research interests include cytokine biology, glucocorticoid action and cell cycle proteins in the context of Rheumatoid Arthritis pathogenesis, as well as medical and interprofessional education. Michelle’s work has been published in Nature Reviews Rheumatology, The Lancet Rheumatology, and Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Prior to her role as Deputy Dean, Michelle held a number of teaching and leadership positions within Monash’s medical program and is a recipient of the Australian Medical Students’ Association national teaching award. She has previously served as the Medical Director of Arthritis Australia, held positions on a number of National Rheumatology Advisory Boards and is the outgoing chair of the Clinical Examination Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians National Exam Panel of the College of Physicians.

A proud Monash alumna, Michelle holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) Hons and PhD, and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP).

Associate Professor Gabrielle Brand
Gabrielle Brand is an Associate Professor at Monash Nursing & Midwifery. She is a passionate teacher and qualitative researcher with a special interest in narrative medicine, interprofessional and reflective learning. She has led a growing body of health humanities research titled ‘Depth of Field©’ that uses art (photography, MRI and fine art, music, literature and patient narratives) to promote person centred models of care in health professions education across Australia and New Zealand.

The resources are co-designed with healthcare consumers and aim to stimulate a multitude of learning opportunities that are embodied in different, innovative teaching methodologies (photo-elicitation, role play, verbatim theatre, mind maps, visual thinking strategies and reflective questioning prompts) designed to provoke, prod and reveal unconscious bias/stigma and inspire reflection, questioning and insight through an exploratory and immersive journey.

Dr Bev Woon
After finishing her undergraduate medical degree at The University of Melbourne, Dr Beverley Woon continued her medical training in many major Melbourne hospitals, and completed her radiology specialty training in 2011.  Bev is a consultant radiologist and currently works at a number of public and private hospitals in Melbourne, including The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and St Vincent’s Hospital, BreastScreen.  Bev has clinical interests in lung tumour and breast imaging, as well as strong interests in medical education and work culture.  She is a Monash University Medicine, Nursing and Health Services Placement Advisory Board Member.

Danielle Najm
Danielle Najm joined Monash University, Nursing and Midwifery in 2019, following 20 years of industry nursing practice.

Danielle has 15 years of Nursing Education experience, most recently as Manager of Nursing Education, at a major Melbourne tertiary hospital.  This has fostered an interest and passion in nursing education, clinical leadership and ward-based culture and clinical practice.

Currently as part of her role, Danielle is the Lead for Work Integrated Learning, working with clinical placement providers to provide quality clinical placements.

Dr. David Williams, co-writer and director, Grace Under Pressure
David Williams is a theatre artist whose works open spaces for public conversation about political and social issues. He was the Curator of ATF2015, and his works have won Helpmann, Green Room and Drovers’ Awards. David holds a PhD from UNSW, is an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, and is the director of Alternative Facts.

Over the past two decades he has crafted evocative performances from found materials such as interviews, archives, and transcripts of public inquiries. Recent works include Quiet Faith, built around conversations with Australian Christians about religion and public life, Grace Under Pressure (co-written with Paul Dwyer), based on interviews with doctors and nurses about hospital workplace cultures, and SMURF IN WANDERLAND, an autobiographical work about football fandom and geographic belonging. Works in development include Smaller, Only Players, Sincere Apologies and Public Good (Parts 1-4).