Gretel Burgess

Photo: Skye Rose

Gretel Burgess

Artist Residency

12 – 16 July 2021

Theatre and dance artist, Gretel Burgess and her team, Pip Buining and Chloe Burgess, undertook a week-long residency in the Rehearsal Room to develop new work, “Coagulation” exploring the connection between mental health conditions and the curdling of blood.

The cause of the blood clot which induced Gretel’s stroke has never been discovered. It could be genetic but there is no family history. Through research, Gretel has discovered that fear and anxiety affect the blood. A study conducted in Amsterdam proved this through exposing people to horror movies and then testing their blood – the result found that their blood thickened – screams literally do curdle our blood. In the months leading up to the stroke, Gretel was bullied in the workplace. As a result, and over time, Gretel developed Anxiety- she was in flight/fright. Gretel was living in a horror movie- her blood was curdling- creating the perfect conditions for a clot to form.