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Professor Femi Oyebode; Sheila Kohler; Stephen Boxer; Heloise Tunstall-Behrens

Actor Stephen Boxer, writer Sheila Kohler, psychiatrist and poet Professor Femi Oyebode, and composer Heloise Tunstall-Behrens join Libby Purves.

Actor Stephen Boxer; writer Sheila Kohler; psychiatrist and poet Professor Femi Oyebode and composer Heloise Tunstall-Behrens join Libby Purves.

Heloise Tunstall-Behrens is a composer and bee-keeper. Her new work The Swarm, a 60-minute opera performed by the Quorum, follows a swarm of bees in their search for a new home as they encounter a deadly extractor fan, a thunder storm and a fierce debate over two potential sites on which to build a hive. Inspiration for the piece came after Heloise inserted a recording device into her hives during a particularly dynamic phase of swarming. The Swarm is at the Vault Festival, The Vaults, London SE1 .

Professor Femi Oyebode is professor of psychiatry and head of department at the University of Birmingham. Winner of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Lifetime Achievement Award, he has also written six volumes of poetry. Professor Oyebode believes medicine is increasingly technology-based, meaning the patient can easily get lost, and he regards medicine as an art rather than a science, a profession in which you apply skills to people. "Every person is different," he says. "As psychiatrists, we are trained to understand human beings and this includes understanding ourselves."

Sheila Kohler is a writer. In her memoir, Once We Were Sisters, she tells the story of growing up in the suffocating gentility of 1950s South Africa with her sister Maxine. Her sister's death in a car accident in 1976 galvanised Sheila to start writing as a way of dealing with her grief. The author of 14 works of fiction, her new book addresses her relationship with her sister and, more broadly, the violence underpinning much of her homeland. Once We Were Sisters is published by Canongate.

Stephen Boxer is an actor best known for his roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company including Titus Andronicus and King Lear and portraying CS Lewis in Shadowlands. He is currently in Raising Martha, a new dark comedy by award-winning writer David Spicer. The play tackles terrorism, animal rights, and six-foot frogs! Raising Martha is at the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, London N4.

Producer: Paula McGinley.

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43 minutes

In the studio

In the studio
L-R: Femi Oyebode, Sheila Kohler, Stephen Boxer, Heloise Tunstall-Behrens


Role Contributor
Presenter Libby Purves
Interviewed Guest Stephen Boxer
Interviewed Guest Sheila Kohler
Interviewed Guest Femi Oyebode
Interviewed Guest Heloise Tunstall-Behrens
Producer Paula McGinley