Bringing the history of our Sight and Sound Centre to life

28 Dec 2022, noon

A photo of five performers within the Sight and Sound Centre, wearing clothing of the 21st century and GOSH lanyards. They are smiling, mid song.

Earlier this year we celebrated the rich history of the Sight and Sound Centre supported by Premier Inn, with the premier of Filament Theatre’s Ospedale.

The operetta, commissioned by GOSH Arts, celebrates the past and future of this wonderful late 19th Century Grade II listed building.

Caring for over 150 years

The building, originally known as the Italian Hospital, was founded in 1884 by Italian businessman, Giovanni Ortelli. The hospital was run by the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul for the Italian community in London until it closed over a century later.

Shortly after its closure, the hospital was taken over by Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in 1992. Since then, it has been home to the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, patient and family accommodation, and the hospital creche. In 2021 the building re-opened as the Sight and Sound Centre at GOSH, the UK’s first dedicated facility for children and young people with sight and hearing loss.

A musical retelling

Through the medium of song, Ospedale tells stories of our past and present by drawing on the hospital and other historical records, conversations with archivists, and interviews with the local Italian and GOSH community.

During the performance the audience were guided through different spaces within the building and in each experienced recreations of key moments in the Sight and Sound Centre’s history. These included a speech the Italian Ambassador made in 1900 to mark the opening of the building, a gala hosted by the Friends of the Italian Hospital to raise money, and the Hospital’s reopening after the second world war. In the finale the audience heard verbatim stories from staff who work in the Centre today, which shared the importance of working as ‘One Team’ and their feelings of pride and joy at being part of our GOSH community.

It was wonderful to be able to bring people together and share the incredible history of the Sight and Sound Centre with our local community and staff who work at GOSH.

Projects like these bring to life and amplify the voices of our families and staff and through doing so celebrate our diverse community.

Caroline Moore, Head of GOSH Arts


We heard from those who attended the premier...

The best thing I’ve seen in a hospital! Loved it, beautiful work and a privilege to see inside the building. It made the history come alive in such an engaging way.

Incredibly beautiful way to learn about the history of the hospital. Loved the way we travelled through the building as we experienced the performance – wonderful, sensitive work!


Scroll through photos from the premier below

The development of Ospedale was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and GOSH Charity.

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