An immersive experience exploring the stories of people who have experienced significant voice change or loss, through music, words, video, and sounds.
Words: Hazel Gould | Music: Hannah Conway | Video Design: Luke Halls | Sound Design: David Sheppard
The Sound Voice installation, which premieres at Festival of New, is an immersive experience made to explore the stories of people who have experienced significant voice change or loss. Video designer Luke Halls and sound designer David Sheppard have collaborated for the first time with composer Hannah Conway and writer Hazel Gould to create a surround-sound, audiovisual setting of Tanja, Paul and I Left My Voice Behind, three works from the Sound Voice project. The installations can be experienced as a group, with breaks between them, or as short standalone experiences.
In 2020 Tanja was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer growing behind her vocal cords. One week after diagnosis her voice box was removed. In this piece she explores her fear of how losing her voice might change and limit her ability to be a "good" mother, the stigmas attached to being a woman with a laryngectomy, and how, a year into her recovery, she continues to express her identity using her new voice.
Paul was written after many hours of interviews and collaborative conversations with Paul Jameson, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2017. The piece invites audiences to understand what 'voice' means to Paul as he loses his speech. Paul is a 'dual aria' a piece for one character (Paul), sung by two performers: Paul Jameson (the real voice) and baritone Roderick Williams (Paul's imagined voice).
I Left My Voice Behind
I Left My Voice Behind was written with people who have survived throat cancer, having had life-saving laryngectomy treatment to remove their voice box, in collaboration with healthcare professionals and biomedical researchers who are developing a groundbreaking implantable larynx. The piece is written for two choirs: the live choir (performed by members of Shout at Cancer who have had laryngectomies) and a second digital choir, constructed from recordings of Shout at Cancer members pre-cancer, before their voice boxes had been removed. The choirs are joined by solo cello, with a digital counterpart crafted from old recordings of the same cellist, mirroring the duet between live and digital choirs and collectively exploring renewal, transformation, and the birth of new vocal identities.