At the age of 26, in the space of three weeks, Adam Pownall went from being a fit and healthy dancer and performer to a paralysed man unable to even blink.
Getting Better Slowly, performed by Adam himself, tells the story of his two and a half year battle back to health, from learning to walk and talk again to the movement classes that kept him going, to the first time he managed to play football again. The amazing story will be played out Square Chapel for the Arts on Sunday (November 6 at 7.30pm, tickets £12)
Through speech, movement, sound and verbatim text taken from interviews with Adam and his family, the show follows him from diagnosis to rehabilitation, capturing his highs and lows to create an inspirational piece that asks the audience how they might deal with such circumstances.
2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the first diagnosis of the disease by Doctors Georges Guillian and Jean Alexandre Barré. The condition, in which the immune system damages the nerve cells causing muscle weakness and paralysis, has no known cause, though it is thought to be triggered by an infection or virus.
It affects one in 100,000 people, and there has recently been an increase in cases in countries that have experienced Zika virus outbreaks.
Following his rehabilitation, Adam returned to work in the arts. In 2014 he won the Olwen Wymark Award for supporting New Writing within Theatre for the Writer’s Guild for his work in opening and running Create Theatre in Mansfield, and he recently became Artistic Director of Lincoln Drill Hall after being Programme Co-ordinator at Derby Theatre.
Getting Better Slowly is his first performance role since his illness was diagnosed in 2009. He said, “Prior to March 2009 I was always the type to describe myself as a positive person. However, it isn’t until you are dealt a life-changing situation you are truly tested and you have to summon the strength to find real positivity.
“I woke up one morning with what felt like a hangover, and my feet were cold… but they never warmed up. I was in hospital for a total of six months, three in a rehabilitation ward going through countless physiotherapy sessions, all of which caused excruciating pain due to my nervous system being messed up. “I regularly support GAIN Charity, I go and visit any current sufferers to offer them my story as a way of hope and positivity.”
GAIN (Guillain-Barré & Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies) Charity is the official charity for GBS. For more information please visit www.gaincharity.org.uk
Call box office 01422 349422 for tickets.