Mould musical’s message for health

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IN an age where anti-bacterial wipes are on hand for all kinds of spills and anything that goes within 10 feet of a baby is doused in enough chemicals to fell a Shetland pony, it’s all to easy to forget that mould plays a crucial role in saving people’s lives.

But an Edinburgh-based musical theatre company is on a mission to change mould’s reputation with a musical about superbugs – urging schools to raise awareness of the bacteria to highlight the importance of keeping antibiotics working.

Charades Musicals, the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and the University of Edinburgh are launching the musical The Mould that Changed the World at the National Museum of Scotland this month. The quirky production draws its inspiration from the 90th anniversary of Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming’s accidental discovery of penicillin.

Alongside the school’s project, the organisers are putting on a professional performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and they’re on the hunt for amateur singers with an interest in medicine and science to join the chorus. Auditions are to be held this weekend at Surgeon’s Hall.

Co-writer, composer and producer Robin Hiley said: “Musicals bring all sorts of ages together and they can act as a catalyst for an audience being interested in a topic.”

The schools version of the musical will be used as a template, complete with educational resources, for schools across the UK to stage the production for free. The songs and storyline are engaging and will be enjoyed by adults and young people alike and it’s an opportunity to spread the important message to an international audience.

Robin said:“It’s a chance for amateur singers to work with a professional cast, to not only provide entertainment but to tell the world about a global health crisis.”

The enterprise is backed by Dr Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland and her counterpart in England, Dame Sally Davies.

In conjunction with the university, famed worldwide for its medical education and research, the theatre company and the top antibiotics charity are calling on as many schools as possible to sign up, so that children everywhere can inform and influence friends and family about one of the biggest threats to global health.

Dr Calderwood said: “Antimicrobial resistance is a problem facing all of us – not just scientists and health professionals, and so I wholeheartedly welcome The Mould that Changed the World.

“Engaging teachers and their pupils, specifically, could be the key to unlocking the difficulties we face in influencing attitudes and behaviours – and so I call on all schools to get involved.”

For more information email thatmould@charadesmusicals.com