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Rosetta Life

Neuro Café 19th January 2022 by Linda S

Sarah introduced Lucinda Jarrett from Rosetta Life. Rosetta Life is a group of artists who work with those living with life-limiting illness to shape and share stories that matter through movement, song, image, film and writing. They aim to transform the stigma of illness and change the perception of disability

Lucinda explained Rosetta Life programmes are designed for neuro rehabilitation; anyone with a brain injury can join the programme, bear witness and shape a performance. Creativity is helping participants to get back some kind of movement, coordination and voice.

Lucinda described the work of Rosetta Life and introduced ambassadors Jen, Marrick and Leslie and said she would be sharing a film featuring them. Rosetta Life is comprised of artists who help people who have never performed before. It aims to engage individuals who have had experience of brain injury or stroke and to give them a voice.

Jen and Leslie

Jen described how they had initially discussed some ideas about a performance; they felt it had been very inspiring to tell their story and see the end result. Working with music, singers, players and performers you can say you were part of creating something and see your ideas in the final show.

Leslie mentioned she fears she has forgotten most of what she did since making the film!

Creativity during Covid

Lucinda told us that Covid meant all the working practises had had to change, meaning they would not be physically in theatres and spaces as before. In lockdown everyone had to record themselves, be brave and sing into a recorder and send in the film footage of themselves moving and dancing. Once that was done, the footage was pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle.


You have to be brave and learn to enjoy becoming your own cameraman; however some people prefer this process because it is more democratic. When the suggestion of doing this filming on Zoom was made, Marrick thought, ‘You must be crazy!’ Participants were given a lot of support and the process turned out to be very enjoyable. Marrick was not too enthusiastic at first but then really enjoyed the experience.

This is how it worked: Think of ideas to tell the group. Jot them down on paper. Hear other people’s ideas, which can be inspiring. This whole process was especially good during lockdown.

Film: Forget me Not

Lucinda shared this evocative and imaginative film which illustrates some of the invisible effects of stroke, and how stroke can affect your memory. There was a song ‘I forget how I forgot my son’s name’ by Jennifer Grant describing how her son teases her because she forgot his name. The team joined in to sing the song.

The song was followed by some head dancing, acappella singing and a poignant song;

‘Wanting to hide from the world, realising I’ve got to make the best of it but how? With spirit determination and the help of my friends all together we will learn to help each other.’

Sarah thought this was an incredible piece of work to have been accomplished during lockdown. Everyone enjoyed this insightful and unusual film and we felt it did reflect how it has been possible to be part of a Zoom community which has connected everyone. Jen remarked she had felt safe in this environment. We all have limitations and we can teach others how to be patient. The urge to hide from the world was compared to feeling like a Russian doll.

Invitation to try a simple movement sequence

  • Arm slide; how do we find connection?

  • Could our arms mirror the reaching movement of neurons?

  • Arms are connected loosely to our shoulders. An arm is free. It is not locked. Give your arm a massage, feel the bones in your forearm.

  • Facilitate rotating of the arm.

  • Massage your hands; find the 27 bones in your hand.

  • Be aware that movement begins at the wrist. If you can’t move, just imagine moving, it feels good!

  • Brush your arm from shoulders to fingers, outside then inside. Now your arm is more alive.

  • Picture the Da Vinci drawings of muscles; they roll like waves.

  • Fold your arm in and out.

  • Stretch and note the movement of the arm in your shoulder.

  • Lift your arm up and down. It gets tired quickly!

  • Movements begin at the base of the spine.

  • We were invited to reach forward up to corner of the frame on our computer screen.

  • Find a pattern of three corners you can repeat. Try to do a reaching pattern to the side, below, up.

How can you join Rosetta Life?

They are about to start a new programme in April in London which will end up in a theatre. In Buckinghamshire and the Thames Valley in March there will be online activities.

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