The Nurse with the Purple Hair (2017)


We are delighted to be screening this inspiring documentary about end-of-life care. The film features hospice nurse Michelle Lasota and is directed by world-renowned filmmaker Sean Cunningham. The film honours hospice professionals and the mind-body-spirit services they provide.

When Sean met Michelle at Fan Expo in Toronto he was captivated by her stories about hospice. Their conversation led to this documentary. Says Sean: “I was focusing on movie deaths and Michelle was focusing on real death. She said it didn’t have to be scary. She wasn’t grim or morbid. In fact, she has a sense of fun about her, which I never would’ve imagined. And things that she’s told me have changed my life.”

The Nurse with the Purple Hair shows what hospice care is and what it can be. Their aim is to start a quiet revolution through increased awareness and education.

When Michelle’s father died unexpectedly in 2004, she was working as a surgical nurse at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. She returned to Philadelphia and switched to hospice nursing. She says: “It was a personal healing journey. For me, everything that I didn’t get to do for my dad I was now doing for all of these other people. So it was really important to me.” Michelle serves as a level 3 RN on her hospice unit, and as preceptor  to nursing students to newly hired employees. In 2010 she received a UPHS nursing excellence award in recognition of Nurse/Patient-Family Relationships. Michelle makes her home in Philadelphia. She has two little boys.

Sean Cunningham, one of today’s most successful independent filmmakers, is best known for Friday the 13th (1980), the low-budget movie that created a series of 12 sequels released all around the world. It remains one of the most popular horror films in history, and is considered one of the most successful media franchises in America. He revolutionized the content and production of independent motion pictures as both provocateur and horror great. He was an executive producer on the hit remakes of Friday the 13th and Last House on the Left. Cunningham also produced The Horror Show, My Boyfriend’s Back, Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X and the tremendously successful Freddy vs. Jason.

When Sean met Michelle at Fan Expo in Toronto he was captivated by her stories about hospice. Their conversation led to this documentary. Says Sean: “I was focusing on movie deaths and Michelle was focusing on real death. She said it didn’t have to be scary. She wasn’t grim or morbid. In fact, she has a sense of fun about her, which I never would’ve imagined. And things that she’s told me have changed my life.”

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Outside the Box with Liz Rothschild


Warning: This show might change your life …and your death.

Funny, wise and taboo busting; Outside The Box confronts the ‘Elephant in the room’ with grace and humour, asking its audience to embrace mortality and look on the bright side of life, with a weave of untold and surprising stories, a hint of history and some pithy commentary on the funeral industry (from one who knows!).

Liz is a performer, celebrant and award winning burial ground owner. Her unique insights and experiences have created a highly original and beautifully cathartic show, combining mercurial tales and miraculous truths, collected over the years from life’s finishing line.

For more information visit

Tour of Winchester Cathedral
Photographer: Neil Howard

Fifteen centuries of English history lie behind the massive Cathedral you see today. It stands at the heart of historic Winchester, once the seat of Anglo-Saxon and Norman royal power, on the site of an early Christian church. It’s been a place of worship ever since. Dr Christina Welch will be introducing us to examples of the carved cadavers that inspired Guy the Transi, Bishop Richard Fox (d.1528) and Bishop Stephen Gardiner (d.1555),

Jane Austen is now celebrated as one of England’s greatest novelists, but when she was buried in the Cathedral in 1817 at the age of 41, her original memorial stone made no mention of her books. You can read the brass plaque erected in 1872 to redress the omission in the north side aisle and an illustrated exhibition detailing Jane Austen’s life, work and death in Hampshire, is displayed beside her grave.

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Performance by Jezebel Jones
Photographer: Lars Kommienezuspadt

Bye Bye Banshee is a new music project several years in the making. Inspired by a very close brush with death and a background of religious-based fear, songwriter Jezebel Jones began to consciously challenge her existing view of death and the afterlife. Many questions emerged:

“What if I didn’t fear death?”

“What if there is no hell or damnation?”

“What if death is the most natural thing in the world?”

“What if death is a loving mother?”

“What if death is a beautiful woman?”

Music has always been an integral part of death culture. Popular and sacred songs have shaped our beliefs about death and dying. As we look forward by returning to the traditions of the past, music is once again being used as a palliative tool to ease suffering and provide a more peaceful end of life. And finally, music provides a timeless, intuitive way to mourn the deaths—and celebrate the lives—of our loved ones.

Bye Bye Banshee explores the dark and light sides of death, but ultimately embraces the light.  While the motif of the grim reaper looms foremost in the minds of many, there is an antidote…and She is waiting to comfort those who face—and fear—the ultimate mystery.

What if Death is a Beautiful Woman?


Jezebel Jones is a songwriter and performer from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Her first record—Queen of the Devil’s Rodeo—received international airplay and critical praise as a “clever debut” ( Chuck Dauphin (Nashville News, Billboard) says, “You know what they say about a good girl gone bad!  Maybe that’s why her disc is so fun to listen to. There are quite a few stories here about people who have, well, fallen from grace”.

Jezebel’s EP for her new death-positive music project, Bye Bye Banshee, will be released spring/summer of 2017 and we are delighted to be hosting this performance. To sample the hauntingly beautiful melodies you can expect go here.

For more information visit:

Rachel (2016)


From beyond death, a young woman fights to have her last wishes fulfilled against the will of her intransigent father. In a world where couples often come from different cultural backgrounds and many of the younger generation are moving towards alternative lifestyles and secularism, the traditional rites of passage, which once brought families and communities together, may now bring bitter conflict.


You can watch the trailer here:

Rachel is a short film written & directed by Karen Anstee. It explores the complex relationship between religion, family and love, asking whether funerals are for the living or the dead. Karen Anstee will introduce the film and talk about inspiration and the production process.

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Tour of West Hill Cemetery
Photographer: Lucy Coleman Talbot

The land belonged to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral. Winchester Cemetery Company was established by Act of Parliament and the first directors’ meeting was held on 1 March 1840. Owen Browne Carter’s plans for the gate-lodge, two chapels and the boundary walls of the present West Hill Cemetery were produced at the directors’ meeting on 31 March 1840 together with tenders which were duly accepted at the meeting. The perimeter wall with its elegant pillars and railings and the wrought iron gates are Grade 11 listed structures but the Lodge is not.

Winchester Corporation Bill was passed in 1952 and the title passed to the City Council in 1953. In 1958 Winchester Council took over control of the area which by that time had become neglected and unloved. Since then there has been periodic removal of gravestones and Hampshire Gardens Trust has endeavoured to put forward measures for minimal maintenance whilst at the same time holding on to the gravestones.

The flora is composed of many species found in chalk grassland with a number of other flowering plants self-seeded from floral tributes. There are one or two fine trees and some modern planting. The lodge still stands and although the cemetery is now closed, occasional burials in family plots and vaults do still take place.

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For Whom The Bells Toils with Casey Middaugh


For Whom The Bell Toils is an ambient installation art piece. A variety of bells are laid out with labels identifying types of emotional labor associated with the end of life and death. Viewers are encouraged to ring the bells of those types of emotional labour that they have practiced or identify with; finding the melody of their experience as they move through the piece. Additional bells and labels will be available for viewers to add new experiences that had not previously been included allowing for a dynamic and collaborative growth within the piece.

“I wanted to take a moment to share my gratitude to you for your performance tonight. I recently lost a grandmother from my family of origin with whom I’ve been disconnected for near a decade. It was an enormous shift in my grieving process and I am so grateful for the aid you provided me tonight.”

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Casey Middaugh makes participatory performance art. Casey’s work explores deep emotions and human connections through installation art and immersive games and theater. Her pieces have been performed across America and Great Britain including the Barbican Centre in London, The Slate Theater in Seattle, and FIGMENT festival in New York City. She has held artist residencies at Elsewhere in Greensboro, North Carolina and Earthdance in Massachusetts. She has a Bachelor of Music from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD; and a Master’s degree from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

Learn more about Casey’s work at:

Coach Trip to Brookwood Cemetery


Brookwood Cemetery (once known as the Necropolis) first opened in 1854 and was at one time the largest cemetery in the world. Today, it continues to be the largest cemetery in Western Europe and since its opening, approximately 250,000 people have been laid to rest within the beautiful grounds.

The cemetery, comprising of approximately 400 acres of burial land, is divided into many smaller plots by a multitude of roads and avenues that boast magnificent trees and shrubs throughout. There are various plots that have been set aside exclusively for the use of specific communities and denominations and families even have the opportunity to purchase their own family plots within the grounds.

The London Necropolis Company ran trains from it’s own private station just outside London Waterloo to Brookwood Cemetery between 1854 and 1941.

This cemetery railway had many unusual features: there were two stations, one for the Nonconformist section and another for Anglicans; associated chapels, and a masonry works siding. Even after death, class distinctions were maintained with first, second or third class coffin tickets available. Somewhat surprisingly both cemetery stations included licensed premises and visitors to these bars have said there were notices displayed stating “Spirits served here.”

Our tour will include a light lunch in the cemetery, an opportunity to take in the beautiful surroundings and imagine what it was like for Victorians coming from London on the trains to enjoy picnics on summer afternoons.

If you’d like to learn more John M. Clarke explores The Brookwood Necropolis Railway in his book on what could be the most unusual train service to operate on a British railway history.

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