Image Description - Photos of women over 50 left to right - Caroline Parker is a white woman with a bright red mohawk, is wearing a blue top with a chunky beaded necklace and colourful long earrings. She is wearing glasses. Cheryl Martin is a black woman, with black shoulder length hair. She is holding a retro microphone and is speaking into it. She is wearing a strappy dress and has an ornate, vintage necklace on. Mandy Colleran is a white woman with long red hair. She is sitting in a power-wheelchair, wearing a black top and blue skirt and is smiling right at us. Jackie Phillips is a white woman with asymmetrical blond hair. She is wearing a black top and is smiling wisely. Vici Wreford-Sinnott is a white woman with spiky blond hair. She is wearing a scarf and looking off to the right smiling.
Half Way There - The UnSung
The UnSung began life in the Half Way There Project aimed at older disabled women and it is an accessible radio/audio drama co-created by Mandy Colleran, Cheryl Martin, Caroline Parker, Jacqueline Phillips, and is written and directed by Vici Wreford-Sinnott. You can listen to the piece here with optional captions:
A Durham Book Festival Commission in association with ARC Stockton and Little Cog
An audio drama with captions and audio description.
This piece has been showcased by Durham Book Fetival who co-commissioned it and ARC Stockton who were also co-commissioners. At ARC we had a live online event with the cast and Q&A with the audience. It was a wonderful evening of connectivity and celebration.
About Half Way There
This project was aimed at giving a voice to women over 50, with a particular interest in disabled women. We created spaces for conversation and to reflect on older women who had had an important impact on our lives. Vici Wreford-Sinnott led a creative process with co creators Cheryl Martin, Mandy Colleran, Caroline Parker and Jacqueline Phillips. There were also two community workshops with disabled women over 50 where very many things were discussed and a gap in opportunities to come together was identified. It is hoped that we can do more of these workshops, funding permitting. There was a unanimous consensus that disabled women over 50 are missing from the cultural landscape.
About The UnSung
Inside, the ceiling of the storydome in the National Library is creaking under the strain of the books trapped above it. Outside, there is great civil unrest. People are cordoned off in the city square, compartmentalised, the air heavy as protesters chant.
The UnSung is a brand new sci-fi/historic audio performance, written and directed by Vici Wreford-Sinnott with co-creators Mandy Colleran, Caroline Parker, Cheryl Martin and Jacqueline Phillips who also star in the piece. We meet four ordinary extraordinary, eternal women thrown together from parallel worlds. Anonymously elected and plucked from their lives, let in through the only accessible side door, they find themselves as the sole occupants of the mysterious Grand Chamber in the National Library and Archive, which isn’t nearly as pompous as it sounds when these women are finished with it. All disabled women over fifty, Josephine is a trickster, Joan is bursting to roar, Eva just wants to get on with it, and Zandra is the collector of one thousand new stories. From far flung places and times in history, the women realise they are The Unsung. Not only are they unsung, but they are disappearing – literally, piece by piece, and the longer it takes to sort out the thousand new stories, the more things fade and vanish completely. A momentous challenge has been set and they are against the clock.
The UnSung team are inviting venues and commissioners to think inventively about how they programme work for our times, ensuring disabled artists and audiences, those with long covid and those at significant risk from the virus continue to be included in the cultural landscape. This is one such piece of work -you’ll find it uplifting, provocative and pacy while leaving no-one behind.
Access Information - there are some loud sound effects of crowds shouting and the heavy creaking of a building as it strains to hold its contents. The piece is available with and without captions, with BSL and has integral audio description where relevant in the script..
Content Information - The piece does contain adult themes, references to racism, terms of abuse about disabled people are included, and themes of disability discrimination are explored in a not too distant dystopia.