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The C Factor. 
Interactive Storytelling for people in treatment for cancer.  


date. 2018-present

city. Camden and Islington NHS trust, London

Co-produced with Macmillan, The Whittington Hospital and Camden and Islington Clinical Health Psychology. 

Text was put together and performed by Adam McGuigan using verbatim words, with permission, from interviews with patients from the Whittington Hospital. 

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'The C Factor' is an award winning creative arts and psychology initiative with and for people undergoing cancer treatment.

'The C Factor' combines psychology, storytelling and applied theatre approaches to create a safe space for participants, which is energising, uplifting and empowering.

A one year pilot of 'The C Factor' was funded by Macmillan Cancer Support from September 2018 – July 2019.  During this period we ran and successfully evaluated two 'The C Factor' programmes.


In November 2019 'The C Factor' won a Macmillan Award for Excellence in Innovation.


'The C Factor' was developed from a variety of consultation workshops attended by cancer patients, carers and staff. This was followed by research into similar programmes, interviews with other projects and one to one interviews with patients who had a range of cancers and cancer stages and who were from a range of ethnicities. A character 'Ricky' was created and the verbatim text is spoken by him. 

Sessions are co-facilitated by Dr. Sue Gibbons, Clinical Psychologist in the Cancer Care Psychology Service, Adam McGuigan, Artistic Director of ‘Wake the Beast’ and Tracey Palmer, Macmillan Information & Support Manager.

The sessions provide patients with the opportunity to communicate and share experiences, as well as gain tools and information to help self- manage the emotional challenges of cancer. Feedback has highlighted the opportunity to laugh as one of the most effective ingredients in the sessions.

Some feedback from participants:

“His story telling was really important because the focus wasn’t just on me - I wasn’t put on the spot. I felt really safe and comfortable.”

“During treatment: something to focus on / build up to, which is guaranteed to cheer me up.”

“This should be offered to all cancer patients - Amazing course.” 

“So many themes and events resonated with my own journey, seeing it broken into stages was a good way to approach the various issues patients face.” 

“I kept using Ricky's mantras when talking to other people, I know that I am not alone.”

“It has made me feel more hopeful about longer term effects.”

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