We currently have over 160 professional actors visiting hospitals and stroke clubs. In the hospitals the actors mainly read on a one-to-one basis at the patient's bedside. InterAct actors are professionally trained. They work for InterAct when not working in theatre, radio, film and television.
The reason for using professionally trained actors is that they have:
- The dramatic skills to hold the concentration of somebody who is not only unwell but also in the hospital environment.
- The vocal stamina to sustain long periods of reading.
- The antennae to respond to unspoken reactions from the patients
- The technique to read for lengthy periods of time.
"This is better than four months medicine" - Patient, Charing Cross Hospital
They will sit with a patient, talking, reading and listening, the length of time spent on any one individual depending on the patient's wishes. We make every effort to provide reading material that will stimulate patients from every walk of life and that will suit their present level of comprehension.
The actors have a library of diverse stories of varying lengths and genres. They also carry numerous features, poetry and jokes.
Over the years InterAct has commissioned over 50 stories especially for the service, 21 of which have been published under the title 'Out Loud' written by Pete Barrett, and many new stories appear in our published book INTERACTIONS which is available to purchase here at the website in the shopping section located at the Supporting Us page.
The charity also provides group readings, both in hospitals and at the various stroke clubs we work in. The important thing for InterAct is to treat each patient as an individual.
Since 2008 we have promoted a biennual Short Story Competition to encourage new writers and new material. Although there is a great benefit in Talking books for hospital patients, the speed of a talking book cannot be changed, and a talking book cannot smile at you compared to a live interactive professional reader.