Game Of Thrones star Owen Teale reads to stroke survivors

By Huw Thomas
BBC Wales arts and media correspondent

  • Published
Owen Teale in the fifth season of Game Of ThronesImage source, Sky Atlantic
Image caption,
Owen Teale (left) played Alliser Thorne in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones star Owen Teale has said he was "very, very moved" to perform for stroke survivors.

The actor hopes the readings will "open a door" for patients at University Hospital Llandough in Vale of Glamorgan.

He is an ambassador for the charity InterAct Stroke Support.

Teale performed works by Dylan Thomas, George Orwell and Shakespeare at the hospital's stroke rehabilitation centre.

The charity uses a network of trained actors to perform poems and other readings for patients to help their recovery.

Teale, who played Alliser Thorne in Game of Thrones, has been in Wales filming Dream Horse alongside Damien Lewis and Toni Collette.

The film tells the true story of the racehorse raised on an allotment in south Wales before going on to win the Welsh Grand National.

Teale - who has family experience of strokes and shared personal memories - said patients could feel all-consuming pain and isolation after experiencing a stroke and hoped he could make a difference.

"If you can open a door for somebody and they can go through it, they can speed up their recovery - I'm fascinated by this idea," said the actor, who is from Cornelly, Bridgend county.

"It's made by day being here - 30 years as an actor is paying off."

Image caption,
Two sessions are held a week in Cardiff and Vale and InterAct Stroke Support hopes to get Welsh-speaking actors involved in future

Patient Louise Fullman said: "It takes you down a different route. I'm just thankful people take time to volunteer to come in."

InterAct Stroke Support said the sessions could improve a patient's memory and communication skills.

Tabitha Mansel-Thomas, senior specialist speech and language therapist at the hospital, said: "I think it really boosts the patient's mood. I've had patients said they feel so much happier - it lets them let go of negative thoughts.

"More and more, there's a recognition of the value of arts and health. Now it's seem as more integral to someone's well-being - a stoke impacts not just on walking and talking but you as a person."

The charity is involved with 160 trained actors and a network of 18 hospitals and stroke clubs.

Chief executive Nirjay Mahindru said: "We saw with someone like Owen Teale today how much joy an actor of his stature brought to people on the ward."

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