The Power of Placebo

The Power of Placebo is a series of events, talks and workshops that unlock the potential of the placebo effect, a point of departure for our new performance, Placebo.

The placebo response describes what occurs when a person is given a treatment considered ‘fake’ or ‘inactive’, but experiences an improvement in health regardless.

We were fascinated by the research that shows how the colour of a pill can affect the efficiency of a drug, or that someone’s health might be improved after ‘fake’ surgery. But perhaps it’s not that surprising, after all, in the theatre, we are constantly playing with people’s perceptions and affecting how they feel.

Placebo is often perceived as a negative phenomenon – something that is fake and fraudulent. But recent advances in neuroscience and psychology now suggest that investigating the complex relationships involved in this phenomenon may hold a key to improved health outcomes. How can we understand and harness the radical power of the placebo effect?

We present each of our productions alongside a carefully curated programme of talks, events and workshops. This year we bring together scientists, artists, architects, anthropologists, neurologists and psychiatrists to deal head-on with many of the questions that the topic of ‘placebo’ inspires. We hope by bringing together these many different perspectives we will spark conversation about what makes us feel better and the ramifications for how healthcare is provided.

Full programme to be announced on Monday 3 September 2018.