The Sound Voice Project

A transdisciplinary performance project exploring voice loss and identity

Working internationally with people with lived experience of voice loss, interdisciplinary professionals, arts venues, festivals and hospitals, The Sound Voice Project aims to understand the intrinsic value of the human voice and how it connects to our identity? What is a voice and what happens when it is gone?

Can You Hear My Voice

This piece originated from a poem written by Sara Bowden-Evans, who was unable to speak for two years after being treated for throat cancer.

Paul

This ‘dual aria’ invites audiences to understand what ‘voice’ means to Paul Jameson, as he begins to lose his speech due to motor neurone disease. 

The Willow Tree

The Willow Tree, an ancient spirit who steals and consumes the voices, identity and soul of humans, is a personification of Parkinson’s Disease.

I Left My Voice Behind

This composition explores how the voice links us to our past, present and future identities, including vocal potential enabled by science and technology.

Tanja

This duet charts a professional actor and singer's journey recovering from life changing surgery cancer behind her vocal cords.

Your Voice

The final work is a song for all who have loved and lost. It is about memory of voice, faded dreams of people and those who have witnessed their life journeys.

“What you have achieved with this project is unbelievable…With this work, you have hit on something people have been experimenting with for decades – serious, thoughtful works of art that have at their centre the stories and voices of people who are not usually afforded a platform.” [Audience member 2021]
“The project helped us change direction and focus. We were able to refine the objectives of the technology, and all of that fed into a successful subsequent scientific grant application. It changed the nature of not only the research, but it made it stronger and more likely to succeed, hopefully more likely to produce a product which will really answer what the patients really want.” [Biomedical researcher, participant 2021]
“I only had my laryngectomy surgery in March 2020 and found this project a really important part of my recovery and coming to terms with my new voice. It’s helped me to deal with the emotional and mental side of dealing with my voice loss.” [participant 2020]
“It’s not about the music, it’s not about the disease, it’s about who people are. That’s the most powerful thing, it’s an education for us all.” [participant quote 2021]

In 2022-24 we launch phase two of The Sound Voice Project.

The Sound Voice Project celebrates voice; changed voices, that are sometimes difficult to hear or understand because they have been so damaged and impacted by severe medical conditions/illness. We all have a relationship to voice and identity, no matter what background – it’s something that cuts across cultural/social background, age, gender and sexuality. We’re creating a platform for people who usually have very little or no access to the arts, both as performers and as creatives.

Audiences are invited to reflect upon their own identities (often prejudices) and experiences.

The Sound Voice project is a powerful model, operating outside traditional paradigms in the arts, social sciences and healthcare sectors to remain flexible and responsive, placing people with lived experience at the very centre.