Professor Bernhardi

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Theatre and dance

Professor Bernhardi

  • 23 Sep 2015 — 25 Sep 2015
Imported 2212
Imported 2212

Barts Pathology Museum London


Arthur Schnitzler’s unlikely comedy Professor Bernhardi (1912) tells the story of a Jewish doctor who prevents a Catholic priest from giving the last rites to a patient who is unaware that she is dying. A new adaptation takes a wry look at the ethical choices that have to be made in hospitals and are as relevant now as they were in Schnitzler’s time.

The venue is Barts Pathology Museum in London’s West Smithfield. In this remarkable space, not normally accessible to the public, over 5000 medical specimens are displayed. And just as the museum makes visible the anatomy and physiology of the human body, so Professor Bernhardi enacts this logic of turning inside-out, laying bare the inner workings of a hospital.

Doors open at 6pm, allowing the audience to enjoy a complimentary drink and explore the Pathology Museum before the performance. There will be a pre-show talk given by members of the Schnitzler Digital Edition Project at 6.00pm on Friday 25 September, when doors will open at the earlier time of 5.30pm.

The production is a collaboration between [Foreign Affairs] and academics from the Schnitzler Digital Edition Project.

Alongside the theatrical production a two-day symposium from 25-26 September adopts a cross-disciplinary approach to ongoing debates on end-of-life care. Medical professionals, lawyers, ethicists, policy makers, humanities scholars, cultural practitioners and patient representatives will come together to consider what it might mean in today’s world to ‘die well’.

The symposium takes up key questions posed by Schnitzler’s unlikely comedy and explores them from a contemporary perspective, in four panels addressing socio-cultural responses to the challenges of biomedicine; bodily practices and embodied knowledge; faith, conscience and the role of doctors; and current institutional perspectives on end-of-life care.

Distinguished speakers include Baroness Ilora Finlay, Professor Jonathan Montgomery and Dr Samir Guglani.

Theatre performance and symposium both take place in Barts Pathology Museum in London’s West Smithfield, at the heart of the historic Barts Hospital site. This remarkable space, in which over 5000 medical specimens are displayed, is not normally accessible to the public.

Booking and information here.