I’m Sophie, physiotherapist, musical theatre enthusiast and co-director of Production Physiotherapy. Instead of listing off a reel of shows and productions I’ve worked with, I’ll try to explain how and perhaps why I ended up in a career as an entertainment industry physio.
My journey started when I was 15 years old and found myself at the mercy of a local physio after a potentially season stopping ankle injury in a Lacrosse game. It was a devastating time for me to be out of action, not only did I have athletics and netball meets on the horizon, but I’d also had my hopes on the opportunity to try out at the Lacrosse County trials.
Fortunately for me, the physio to whom I was at the mercy of, had not only a capable pair of hands, but also a knowledgeable problem-solving mind to match. In addition to her hands on treatment, she provided me with an extensive rehab plan that gave me hope and a strong sense of control over the outcome of this injury. Recovery took months, but I stuck with it and not only made it to the trials but earned myself a spot on the U18 county team too, as captain no less! Ironically, that was the momentI realised that what I actually wanted to do, was train to become a physio and guide people back to optimum performance the way she had done for me.
I studied for my degree at Oxford Brookes, graduated in 2010 and headed for the private sector, searching for the elite performers and specialists alike. That winter I took my new skill set to Switzerland and set up a physio practice in a ski resort, spending my days on the slopes and my evenings treating clients who the slopes hadn’t been kind to. In terms of work life balance, my career had probably peaked here! When the snow melted, I headed home and spent some time working with Saracens RFC which I had thought would be my dream role.
Truth is, and everybody around me knew it, I had a fire in my belly, burning for the stage. But that fire didn’t quite burn so brightly with talent, so backstage is where I would shine. Behind the lights and the applause, I’d be earning my ‘bravos’ and taking a bow in the spare offices and dressing rooms of London’s West End where I’d set up clinic for the performers who really went out there attempting breaking a leg each night.
In order to get from pitch side to stage side I packed up and moved to the city to complete an MSc in Performing Arts Medicine at University College London. I then began working at Physio Ed on Harley Street, a clinic that predominantly worked with theatre performers in London and around the UK. From here I travelled the UK and abroad as a resident physio with musical theatre tours as well as some TV series and West End clinics.
After years of invaluable experience and regular up-skilling, my time with Physio Ed came to an end with the closing of London’s War horse, where I had spent 2 years as resident physio. It was time for the next challenge, which of course came with uncertainty, but I hadn’t finished with Harley Street just yet. I soon began working at the Centre for Health and Human Performance (CHHP). This is where I met Barry, my business partner. Barry at the time, was a colleague in need of some cover for a film he was working on and came to me as I was already familiar with the industry and its many quirks. The two of us soon got talking about the industry and how it could improve, we discussed its attitudes toward injury and lack of understanding when it came to preventative vs reactive treatment. We saw an opportunity to improve the quality of care for performers and crew alike and decided to begin driving the change we believe the industry needs.
This was the start of Production Physiotherapy. A company I am immensely proud of, we work both globally and locally, not only in the geographical sense, but also when it comes to the human body. We look at sleep patterns, hydration, emotional health and more, creating a detailed picture of our clients’ needs that allows us to guide performers toward an optimum show fit state.
Thanks so much for reading