‘In Control’: theatre and workshop programme to raise awareness for adolescents with asthma and their peers Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London

This project was funded between March 2017 and February 2018.

  • Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care North Thames (CLAHRC) Child Health project led by a team at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, funded by NIHR-CLAHRC.
  • Aimed to help children with asthma feel confident about self-management and build their resilience to withstand peer pressure.
  • Developed a theatre and workshop programme to empower and support children, and raise awareness.

Asthma is the most common chronic condition in children in the UK, with approximately one in 11 children living with the condition. Asthma is also the leading cause of hospital admissions among children.

A study by a team at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry on asthma in London secondary schools highlighted problems with asthma control and medicine adherence. Some children did not feel comfortable using their inhaler due to embarrassment and being misunderstood by others. There was also a perceived lack of awareness by teachers and other children about why an inhaler is needed.

This Evidence into Practice project team collaborated with Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre to develop, tour and evaluate a theatre and workshop programme about asthma, called ‘In Control’. It aimed to empower and support children with asthma; helping them to feel confident about self-managing their condition and build their resilience to withstand peer pressure.

‘In Control’ comprises a theatre production, followed by a discussion with the audience. It toured nine secondary schools in London during June and July 2017, performing in front of 1,900 children aged 11 to 13 years. A further 10 schools were visited during 2018. 

Evaluation showed that 99% of the audience enjoyed ‘In Control’ and 85% said the performance changed how they think or feel about asthma. 

Funding has been secured from Barts Charity for a pilot of a school-based intervention about asthma. 

Contact details

Dr Gioia Mosler, Head of Global Health Group and Community Engagement, Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, g.mosler@qmul.ac.uk

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