We Ask These Questions Of Everybody

Find a disabled community, they will save your life, they will teach you many things.

How to survive in a world that’s not made for you.

Hannah needs help. She meets Lynn. Lynn works for a company that works for the Department of Work and Pensions. An assessment takes place. And then something else.

This is an encounter between two women, an audience, and a riotous chorus of disabled voices. With text drawn from real conversations; samples, soundscapes and singing; and interactive software; We Ask These Questions of Everybody shares radical, surprising and utopian disabled perspectives on self, society and the body.

This is a 50-minute live and digital operatic event sharing disabled people’s experiences under austerity in the UK, performed by an exceptional cross-genre, all-disabled ensemble.

A soundfestival commission supported by Help Musicians, Mahogany Opera Group, Ignite Ticket Fund and Creative Scotland.


Stream live here at 5pm (GMT) on 29 January 2021.

Catch up from 10am on 30 January until 28 February 2021.

This show has fully integrated captioning and audio description.

The idea is to make a new, experimental work which takes disability theory as the basis for both content and structure, performed by an all-disabled ensemble of exceptional musicians, making voices heard which often go unheard both in society and in the musical canon.

Interviews from my PhD research will form the basis of a verbatim approach to libretto, with pitch and rhythm also being determined by the speech of the interviewee.

As Toria and I both have M.E. we are developing a working partnership which takes into account our requirements. Our structure is flexible, we allow for fallow periods, we allow for rests and we do all of our collaborations remotely. In fact, we’ve never actually met in person despite working together very deeply on this project.

Check out Hera’s page for more details.

Mahogany Opera Various Stages

Toria and I were selected to be a part of Mahogany Opera’s Various Stages programme for 2020. The workshops were intended to be face to face but as the Covid 19 lockdown was approaching I decided to work from home. The least safe thing I could do was to take public transport to the most populous city in the UK!

Luckily for all of us I’m used to doing everything by Skype as it’s basically how I manage all my bed based life. We broken people were rocking it before it became popular!

We had two really great working sessions with Frederic Wake-Walker to develop the structure and ideas in the piece.

Instead of presenting at the ICA, we put together a blog about the process which you can read!