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Powerful stories of voice loss are brought together in this unique performance installation. Video designer Luke Halls and sound designer David Sheppard collaborate for the first time with composer Hannah Conway and writer Hazel Gould to create a gripping, surround-sound, audio-visual setting of three works from the Sound Voice Project; Tanja, Paul, and I Left My Voice Behind.
Each work describes a deeply personal and distinct experience, the works together invite audiences to consider wider issues of voice and identity. By turns uplifting and heart-rending, the installation is a celebration of the beauty and value of the human voice.
Tanja Bage (voice), Lucy Crowe (soprano), Hannah Conway (piano), Marianne Haynes (violin), Nick Trygstad (cello)
In 2020, Tanja Bage was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer growing behind her vocal cords. One week after diagnosis, her voice box was removed. In this duet with soprano Lucy Crowe, Tanja explores fears 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 Jameson (voice), Roderick Williams (baritone), Rakhi Singh (violin), Hannah Conway (piano)
Paul was written after many hours of interviews and collaborative conversations with Paul Jameson, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2017. It invites audiences to understand what ‘voice’ means to Paul as he loses his speech through a ‘dual aria’ written for one character, yet sung by two performers: Paul Jameson (the real voice) and baritone Roderick Williams (Paul’s imagined voice).
Shout at Cancer Choir, Pug Halliday (Electrospit), Nick Trygstad (cello)
I Left My Voice Behind was written in collaboration with people who have survived throat cancer, having had life-saving laryngectomy treatment to remove their voice box, and in partnership with healthcare professionals and a biomedical research team who are developing a ground-breaking 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 by digital voice synthesis company Cereproc, from recordings of Shout at Cancer performers pre-cancer, before their voice boxes had been removed. The choirs are joined by solo cello, with an electronic cello counterpart mirroring the duet between live and digital choirs and collectively exploring renewal, transformation, and the birth of new vocal identities.
The three works are experienced consecutively as a 23-minute performance installation.