They Want Your Blood: Stars of Vampomime back bid for Fresh Blood… this Christmas.
Coventry blood donors were treated to the fright of their life earlier this week as the cast of the Belgrade’s alternative Christmas comedy, Vampomime, descended on Coventry’s blood donor centre to lend support to an appeal to encourage people to give blood and save lives this Christmas.
The show, which is currently on stage at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, follows the exploits of a troupe of vampire-actors who are attempting to put on their very own seasonal production of the pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, with hilarious consequences. In the process, they find themselves beset by practical problems. They can’t enter the stage until they’ve been invited in and the glare of the lighting is really painful on their eyes.
In a break from their busy performance schedule, cast members Graeme Rose, Katy Stephens and Jack Trow paid a seasonal visit to Coventry’s Central Hall and Conference Centre to wish donors a Merry Christmas and to help promote NHS Blood and Transplant’s drive to encourage Coventry and Warwickshire residents to book and keep appointments to give blood over the festive period.
In a reversal of the popular stereotype, the visit also saw actor-vampire Alan – played by Graeme Rose – embrace the spirit of festive generosity by putting his century-old bloodlust aside to sign up as a donor, much to the surprise and delight of onlookers.
Commenting on the visit, company member Graeme Rose said: ‘By donating just a single pint of blood – the equivalent of one meal in vampire terms – we really can help make a difference. With the stakes so high at this time of year, we’re hoping the good people of Coventry will really sink their teeth into the campaign.’’
More than 11,000 units of blood are issued to hospitals across the Midlands every month and hospitals use blood 365 days a year.
Karen Healy, Senior Marketing Co-ordinator for Publicity & Events at NHS Blood and Transplant said: ‘It’s great that the cast of Vampomime are encouraging people to book and keep appointments to donate blood during the festive period. We need more than 6,000 people to donate across England and North Wales every day to meet patient needs. This is the time of year when we need our loyal donors more than ever as people’s busy lives can mean they don’t get around to donating’.
Running alongside the Belgrade’s Christmas production of Beauty and the Beast, Vampomime is a brilliantly batty new comedy direct from the pen of acclaimed Coventry writer Nick Walker whose previous Belgrade credits include the 2014/15 comedy thriller, Oh No It Isn’t! and Coventry sporting drama We Love You City.
Will beauty get driven batty? Will the beast love in vein? Will the audience die laughing? Whatever happens, a monstrously good time is guaranteed for all!
Vampomime runs at the Belgrade theatre until Sat 2 Jan. For tickets, call the Box Office on 024 7655 3055 or visit www.belgrade.co.uk where tickets are cheaper.
About NHS Blood and Transplant:
• NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. Its remit includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England and North Wales. It is also the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs
• Donors can search for sessions, change their contact details, book appointments and change/cancel their appointments in real time on www.blood.co.uk
• There are apps available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for sessions based on your location, book and manage appointments.
• NHSBT’s donor line – 0300 123 23 23 – is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all calls charged at the standard local rate, even from mobile phones
• NHSBT collects 1.7 million units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues
• A unit of blood is measured as 470mls (or just under a pint)
• There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. A regular supply of all blood groups is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days.
• Maintaining a regular supply of group O Rh Negative is particularly important to respond to patient need.