BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and Believe Limited have announced the students chosen to participate in the theatrical production of “Hemophilia: The Musical,” a program that aims to empower the bleeding community through performance while raising public awareness of the connection between arts and wellness.
The 25 high school students hail from all over the United States, and have either hemophilia or another bleeding disorder, carry a disorder gene, or are a sibling or child of an individual with one of these conditions. Applications had been accepted through Sept. 1.
Written from the perspectives and experiences of young people with bleeding disorders, the production is being touted as the first of its kind.
According to Jeremy Nobel, MD, a Harvard Medical School faculty member and president of The UnLonely Project: The Foundation of Art & Healing, creative expression can have an enduring positive effect on people with illnesses. Productions such as this musical provide a “unique and important” opportunity for the young participants, he says.
Prior to the performance, the students will complete a three-day workshop called “Breaking Through!” Produced in collaboration with Believe Limited, the musical theater intensive will include sessions on the effects of breathing and relaxation on pain management, and the holistic advantages of artful expression. Los Angeles-based Believe Limited creates content and live events for rare disease communities with a focus on bleeding disorders.
“Young adults with bleeding disorders need a creative outlet that allows them to express what they are thinking or feeling, and specifically showcase how their lives are impacted,” Patrick James Lynch, Believe Limited’s CEO and workshop director, said in a press release.
“We were blown away by the talent and thoughtfulness of the applicants. We applaud BioMarin for helping these teens bring their stories and talent to life as we also introduce them to just how beneficial the arts can be for young people affected by chronic illness,” he said.
Hank Fuchs, BioMarin’s president of worldwide research and development, said the production — to be directed by Paul Russell, renowned vocal coach and director of the Haemophilia Society choir — will also hopefully serve to educate the public.
“We are thrilled to be a part in sharing this first-of-its kind workshop and performance. Our hope is that this program will reach beyond the teens performing in the musical, and provide learnings for the broader community on the connection between artistic expression and wellness,” he said.
More information on the workshop can be found here.