Aachen2 Something Totally Random

Play 'Unspoken'

UNSPOKEN, by Neil Rathmell with Dr. Trudy Stewart.

UNSPOKEN is a new play written by Yorkshire based writer Neil Rathmell with Dr. Trudy Stewart, a speech therapist who worked at the Stammering Support Centre in Leeds.
The cast from Leeds Arts Centre have been coached by stammerers from across Yorkshire, who taught them physically how to stammer, and what it is like to have a stammer. They have also helped in the writing of the play. Members of the British Stammering Association read the script and gave feedback to the writers, which was incorporated into the final draft, and they have attended rehearsals at the Carriageworks Theatre to give coaching about the physical and emotional aspects of stammering
This is a first. There are no stage plays about stammering. There was an Oscar winning film on the subject, ‘The King's Speech', but there has never been a stage play until now. This is not the story of a VIP, but the simple tale of a young man who is struggling to live with his stammer.

The Story.
Alex has a stammer. He has had a stammer all his life, and few people know about it. Tonight he is on the cusp of changing his life. He plans to ask the girl he loves to marry him. A momentous evening lies ahead, but he is afraid.As Alex appears on stage, six figures appear in a mist on either side of him. These represent the voices he has carried in his head for years. Voices of parents, friends, teachers, children, all people who have in some way added to the story of his stammer. But what part will they play in Alex's evening? Will he be burdened by memory, leaving all that he wants to say unspoken, or will he find the strength to break out, and make a new life?

‘Unspoken' is a valid, authentic drama, which accurately reflects the real life experience of individuals who stammer. It is hoped that the audience will gain a deeper understanding of what it is like to have a stammer. Of the anxiety, panic, and fear of ridicule felt every time a stammerer speaks, and the life compromises that they make from an early age.

After the performance there will be an after show discussion with the actors, and director Trudy Stewart.

The play was first performed by the Leeds Arts Centre at the Carriageworks theatre, in July 2017. Outcomes from the final performances showed that the end product was a valid and robust representation of stammering, which challenged and changed audiences and the cast's attitudes about stammering and disability generally.

See also Beyond Understanding: The use of theatre to change public attitudes to stammering (Stewart, Linklater, & Railton)