A young woman who lost her partner to cancer is staging a “dark comedy” exploring death and grief to remember him in Bristol.
Vid Warren and Tess Cartwright, of Bristol, were “head-over-heels in love for over four years” when he was diagnosed with brain cancer aged 23.
He passed away 20 months later in 2015, but they remained as positive as possible, in part thanks to Bristol-based Penny Brohn UK, the UK’s leading holistic cancer charity.
Tess, 32, said: “Vid was an incredible human being and we were a team. As we bounced between denial, hope and acceptance, we used ‘tumour humour’ to diffuse the pain. Our determination to stay present and thrive with cancer was largely due to the charity’s positivity and techniques it taught through free retreats and courses.
“We lived from the heart and laughed in the face of death, which allowed us to stay in the present and enjoy the life he had left.”
In Vid’s honour and to thank Penny Brohn, Tess and her company Modest Geniuses (friends Tristan Green and Sidney Robb) will perform Dying to Please You at Jacobs Wells Baths on April 27-30 from 8pm.
The Arts Council England-funded production is directed by internationally acclaimed director John Wright and previously sold out in Bristol.
Tess said: “Our journey lacked accessible comedy commenting on cancer, death and dying, so began the idea for our show. We devised the mortally funny piece to explore the comedy behind death, dying and grief.
“Through music, dance and physical theatre, we aim to interpret the themes as gentle and ridiculous. It asks – can we laugh in the face of death?”
Vid enjoyed writing and blogged about his cancer and called Penny Brohn “a total blessing”.
Penny Brohn spokesman Ian Riddell added: “We thank Tess and her company for staging the show to raise awareness of cancer and how we support people.
“Every penny raised will help Penny Brohn continue to reach everyone needing our life-affirming help.”
About Penny Brohn
With over 36 years’ experience, Penny Brohn understands that cancer impacts everything and the number affected is increasing. It is the UK’s leading charity offering whole person support, its Bristol Whole Life Approach – focused on the person and family’s mind, body, spirit and emotions, before, during and after treatment.
Its free adult residential and day courses empower people to have more control of their health and wellbeing, to turn a potentially devastating diagnosis into a powerful life-changing experience.
The charity focuses on areas such as diet, exercise and managing stress, through courses, one-to-one therapies, groups, a Treatment Support Clinic and national helpline. Penny Brohn wants to reach as many people as possible, but relies on donations.