Trafford General (formerly Park Hospital) is known as the birthplace of the NHS. Nye Bevan was given the keys marking the start of the National Health Service in a symbolic ceremony alongside a ‘guard of honour’ of nurses.

Manchester based theatre collective Take Back Theatre has teamed up with The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre for a new project marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS at Trafford General Hospital.

A grant from the Arts Council has allowed the team to begin the research and development phase of the project, which involves delivering workshops in the hospital to find out amazing stories from staff and patients over its 70-year history, figuring out how to present their stories later down the line, writing funding bids, and doing lots of research about the birthplace of the NHS.

The group has been running drama, photography and writing workshops with the wonderful staff at Trafford General and will continue to do so over the coming weeks to discover more stories. The workshops have been a roaring success so far and have been great chance for the staff to delve into something they may have never done before, as well as a chance improve their confidence and well-being, with plenty of laughs along the way.

Sylvia Diggory then 13, was the first NHS patient. Before she died, Sylvia said: “Mr Bevan asked me if I understood the significance of the occasion and told me that it was a milestone in history – the most civilised step any country had ever taken, and a day I would remember for the rest of my life – and of course, he was right.”

At a time when the NHS is in crisis, a project like this which seeks to celebrate this vital institution and fight for its protection, is essential.

Take Back Theatre needs YOUR NHS STORIES!

Whether you are or have been a staff member, patient, relative, friend, volunteer or baby born in the NHS Take Back Theatre are keen to hear your stories. To help them out just follow this link and complete a short survey: TELL US YOUR NHS STORY HERE


Take Back Theater is a political theatre collective in Manchester, co-founded by actor Julie Hesmondhalgh, writer Becx Harrison and visual artist Grant Archer. They’ve been running for just over 2 years and have produced over 20 shows, exploring social and political issues. You can find out more here: