Factor 9 by Hamish MacDonald from the testimonies of Bruce Norval and Robert Mackie & directed by Ben Harrison, opened on March 11th 2014 at Profilteatern, Umea Sweden, as part of the city’s celebration as 2014 European Capital of Culture. Through personal testimony, video diaries, scientific imagery and soundscape, the play tells the story of the blood products tragedy, where many thousands of haemophiliacs and others were infected with HIV, Hepatitis and CJD through the administration of contaminated blood products. This is the greatest disaster in the history of the British National Health Service and one which has affected many countries across the world. This project was supported by Creative Scotland and Umea Capital of Culture 2014 and produced by Dogstar in association with Profilteatern. Following its week long run in Umea, the production toured to Denmark, Wales and Scotland.
“Factor 9 is also a furiously skillful play. Everything works: the timing of the actors, the lighting, the sound and video projections…Be sure to see it. It is an important play about a black time”
Anders Sjögren, Västerbottens-Kuriren Sweden
“Factor 9 says what it has to say about a mighty public scandal, in a vividly theatrical style that no-one who sees it is ever likely to forget”
Joyce MacMillan, The Scotsman ****
” Both Stewart Porter as Rab and Matthew Zajac as Bruce lay the facts out well, tell the history clearly and, most importantly, make us feel the horror that creeps into these men’s lives. There is an outstanding sound design by Pippa Murphy which often seems to envelope the audience. Ben Harrison’s direction is never static and his cast use their modest acting space with wit and variation. ***** Victor Hallett, Theatre in Wales
“…an unforgettable, high quality and hard-hitting play spotlighting a story of national importance. It also deserves to be seen across the world because it dramatises a global tragedy.” Margaret Chrystall, Inverness Courier *****
“Utterly convincing…ingenious and macabre…terrific performance and inventive direction…Outstanding” Alan Brown, Edinburgh 49
“The playwright got it just right….powerful and very human.” Paula Murray, Sunday Express
“Two actors in front of a smart and really stylish set deliver a tumultuous story…. They take us under the skin of two afflicted individuals. And their hunt for answers soon develops into a heartrending sort of crime story” Jonas Danielsson, FolkbladetListen
Five days in we were paid a visit by Game of Thrones actor Daniel Portman. Daniel was clearly moved by the production and urged the public to attend Summerhall to see Factor 9. Daniel took part in this clip, shot in the Summerhall courtyard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=argGzZEDmTM
@Daniel Portman – Everyone, go see ‘Factor 9’ at Summerhall, Edinburgh till 24th August @HaemophiliaScot @dogstartheatre – It will change your life, I mean it.
Watch STV national news feature on Factor 9 broadcast on Wednesday April 9 2014 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8ksNulN3Ys
Listen to Factor 9 featured on BBC Radio Scotland’s Culture Studio broadcast on Tuesday 8 April 2014 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpkoYvGaBtU
Factor 9 by Hamish MacDonald
inspired by the testimonies of Bruce Norval and Robert Mackie
Designer Emily James
Composer & Sound Designer Pippa Murphy
Video Designer Tim Reid
Lighting Designer Paul ClaydonCreative Scotland has given its backing to a daring and powerful new production.
The production utilises some aspects of the horror genre and blends these with video and a direct performance style to tell its important and extraordinary story: the story of the appalling human tragedy of thousands of haemophiliacs and others who were treated with contaminated blood products during the 1970s & ’80s. This took place within the British National Health Service and in many other countries across the world, blighting, and often ending, the lives of many thousands. Based on the testimonies of victims and scientists and on other documentary evidence, Factor 9 will attempt to examine how such a disaster could have occurred and its impact on victims and their friends and families.