What Makes a Good Death - The Art of Dying (and Living)
In light of the recent government initiative and an increased awareness in professional and academic circles, we feel that this project has particular relevance to today's climate for end-of-life-care but our main aim is self-empowerment through opening dialog and offering choices by way of the Arts.

Project 1:

The Art of Communication – the art of talking, listening, sharing and supporting; and releasing the taboo around death through:
(1) Resource and Drop-in Centre – the art of talking, listening, sharing and supporting
(2) Awareness days, events, talks and workshops
(3) Knit or Natter /Craft Groups
(4) Pub Games Groups

It is hoped to create, support or inspire further Resource and Drop-in Centres and bereavement activities elsewhere.


(1) Colder Than Here

Touring the play 'Colder Than Here', which deals with a mother dying of cancer and how she and the family deal with this situation - and following this 'process', this 'journey'. This is a 'portable' production.

Its Purpose:

The purpose of this project is to promote dialogue to help release some of the taboo, fear, denial and guilt around the subjects of death and dying and to bring awareness of the choices available; to offer a means of dialogue in a place of safely; and to answer educational needs where appropriate.

A post-production discussion with cast director and producer/instigator routinely accompanies the play.

We also offer a pre-production play reading workshop, workshops; and where necessary a psychotherapist or counsellor is available for support.


Through the generosity of 'Taboo Theatre Company', created especially for this project, we have performed the play for more than four years. Not only have we taken it to the larger public but also to the closed communities of hospice and prison as part of an education programme, to the International Arts Conference in Venice 2009 and to Durham University as part of the 2009 International Death, Dying and Disposal Conference.

To date we are entirely self-funding.

(2) The Choice

The Martinsey Isle Trust and Jan Hatanaka are working together to raise funds for a play to be written by Mick Gordon focusing on bereavement based upon Jan's case histories. This is what Mick has to say:

No aspect of living a good life can be more important to us than our relationship to death. This is a shocking and beautiful understanding. Our play will be an inspiration for those attempting to live the good life. A gentle and careful emotional journey following one of Jan Hatanaka's amazing characters on his search to find the reason for his strange behaviour. A profound detective story, taking him into his past and into a re-connection with his family, revealing the source of his disquiet and offering him the potential for future contentment. Judith will acquire the rights for me to write to her commission – a truly exciting project.

(3) Home Death

Recently, I saw a wonderful play in London called Home Death by Nell Dunn [ flyer 1 ] [ flyer 2 ]. The play was inspired by real life stories. It is courageous and compassionate and sensitively raises issues about how society deals with death, dying and palliative care in the UK. Home Death encourages open discussion and thinking about choices around death and dying.

In May 2012, this production was performed for the Trust by Taboo Amateur Theatre Company as a rehearsed reading. It formed part of a 'life affirming' death awareness initiative by The Martinsey Isle Trust highlighting local resources to help with end-of-life concerns, funerals, green burial choice and bereavement care. Each performance includes a post-production discussion with the cast and the trust on the issues raised by the play.

As one of the characters in the play says "I didn't know what dying looked like. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to help him." Yet 70% of us want to die at home. If this raises issues around dying for you, please come along to one of our productions. Our next performance will be in Glastonbury, when, we are delighted to announce, Nell Dunn, its author will join us for the optional post-production discussion; and then in Sussex

Next performances:

Saturday November 3rd 2012 3pm to 5pm
including optional post-production discussion Tor Leisure Centre, Street Road, Glastonbury,
Somerset BA6 8ED
Saturday March 23 rd 2013. 2pm to 4 pm
including optional post-production discussion Emerson College, Forest Row, East Sussex RH18 5JX

By kind permission of Nick Hern Publishing
Please note, there is no interval

Project 2:

Using the Arts – Theatre, Art, Music, Poetry and Film

(1) Art Loans

(2) Memorial and Therapeutic Art and Crafts

Stained glass painting and drawing, craft work and coffin weaving.

Project 3:

Research into Spirituality and Choices around Death

Research into Spirituality and Choices around Death.

Project 4:


Swans, Somerset Levels
Telendos, Greece
Heron - rebirth
The Martinsey Isle Trust and the Glaston Rose Humane Company Creating an idyll of Martinsey and Lidney Islands Natural Burial honouring life's sacred thresholds
The Martinsey Isle Trust was co-founded in 2002 by David Wasley, its inspiration, and Judith Pidgeon, its grounder

The Martinsey Isle Trust - Ivy Cottage - Bath Road - Sturminster Newton - Dorset - DT10 1DU - UK - Telephone: 01258 475 125
Registered Charity Number : 1135600
© drspocksolutions 2011