In 2014, as part of the Umeå European Capital of Culture in Sweden, Inverness theatre company Dogstar performed Hamish MacDonald’s play about the infected blood scandal,Factor 9.
The ongoing UK Government’s Infected Blood Inquiry began public hearings in April 2019 so the play is as relevant now as it was in 2014, with some of those at the heart of the campaign for justice citing it as a significant influencer towards the granting of the public inquiry.
On Wednesday July 15, Dogstar Theatre Online will release their production with Vimeo on Demand adding to their current online offer The Tailor of Inverness and Brian Ross and Hopscotch Films’ outstanding documentary Circling A Fox.
The multi-media performance of Factor 9tells the true story of two Scottish haemophiliacs, Bruce Norval from Inverness (played by Matthew Zajac) and Rab Mackie (played by Stewart Porter) from the Scottish Borders. The play is based on their testimonies and how their lives were devastated from an early age by NHS-prescribed blood clotting products.
Director Ben Harrison said, “When Hamish and Matthew approached me with the subject, I saw a great opportunity to uncover theatrically a great scandal. We hoped to achieve a similar balance between the visually compelling and the emotionally powerful that Matthew and I achieved withThe Tailor of Inverness. The betrayal of the principle of care that lies at the heart of the story will I am sure both touch and anger audiences.”
With music and sound from Pippa Murphy, set and costumes from Emily James and lighting from Paul Claydon, Factor 9takes us onan uncompromising journey from the 1940s Nazi military-industrial complex to the 1960s Arkansas prison system via the 1980s AIDS crisis to the haemophilia clinics of Scotland as the story of a decades-long struggle with government and health authorities for recognition unfolds.
The infected blood scandal is now recognised as the greatest healthcare disaster in the history of the NHS. Factor 9 confronts how society can react towards its most vulnerable in the moment of a pandemic and what can happen in the name of medical research.
Online release date: Wednesday July 15, 2020
Running time: 84 minutes
Age suitability 14+
The production contains strong language.