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“Stunning Performance” Helps Law Firm Raise Money For Charity

Leeds-Based Lawyers Staged A Production Of Tracing Grace At West Yorkshire Playhouse


James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

As part of the World Encephalitis Day initiative and to raise funds for a local charity, medical negligence specialists at law firm Irwin Mitchell hosted a play at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

The play, Tracing Grace, tells the story of a woman who suffered from encephalitis at just three weeks old. The woman, who is a former client of Rachelle Mahapatra, the head of the Irwin Mitchell medical negligence team in Leeds, suffered irreversible brain damage due to her GP and the hospital failing to diagnose encephalitis.

World Encephalitis Day is a global campaign led by The Encephalitis Society that aims to raise awareness of the condition, an inflammation of the brain, which affects 500,000 people around the world each year.

In the UK alone, encephalitis affects 6,000 people annually – more than better-known conditions such as motor neurone disease. It is caused by either an infection of the brain, or by the immune system attacking the brain in error.

The sold-out performance wowed the audience, which included the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Jane Dowson, Team GB Paralympic hopeful Dressage rider Izzy Palmer, and a host of medics and therapists.

After the performance, Rachelle said: 

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“We would like to thank everyone involved with tonight’s performance, particularly the writer of the play, Annie Eves and cast, who captured a very accurate interpretation of brain injury and the effect on an individual and their family.

“It truly was a stunning performance and moving play which also included humour. It delivers a strong message about the struggles of someone who suffers from encephalitis and the impact of a failure to diagnose and treat at an early stage. One of the purposes of this play to help raise awareness of the condition, and I believe the performance did that.

“At Irwin Mitchell, we see first-hand the terrible impact the condition can have on people’s lives and not just the impact on those diagnosed with encephalitis, but also their family and friends.

“That is why we work closely with The Encephalitis Society to raise awareness of encephalitis to the general public. I would like to thank the Society for their help in producing the play.”
Rachelle Mahapatra, Partner

Annie, who also directs and stars in her creation, said: “I am thankful to Irwin Mitchell for hosting the play at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and allowing us to put on the performance to a packed theatre.

“When handed over leaflets or bombarded with facts people tend to switch off. I wanted to create something which grabbed the attention of the public, a story they could invest in.”

As well as hosting the play, the law firm was also fundraising on the night and managed to raise over £1000. The money is to be split equally between The Encephalitis Society and local charity, Whitehall Dog Rescue. The charity, which is the Irwin Mitchell Leeds office’s charity of the year, is dedicated to saving the lives of stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs that would otherwise be put down.

Rachelle added: 

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“The Charity of the Year initiative has been a fundamental part of Irwin Mitchell’s efforts to actively support the local communities where we are based for many years and we are proud be supporting Whitehall Dog Rescue this year.”
Rachelle Mahapatra, Partner

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