step of the way. As artists, we are in their world and culture with the aim to create the most authentic bridge that we can to our audiences. The artistic team includes, Jen Hector whose set, lighting and visual design allowed audiences to feel that you were stepping into a void and grapple with how lightness and darkness can disorientate you. Using 360-degree projection, large screens and goggles, you feel as if you are walking into a large installation by James Turrell, where there is no image, no focus, just blurry edges. Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey did composition, sound design and musical direction. Their work with Michelle explored themes of isolation, deterioration of one’s hearing, listening through a cochlear and essentially creating an immersive world of sound. They developed a music programme where a camera picks up the light in the room through a light meter and translates lightness and darkness into sound. Flynn’s musical direction occurred with preparing Michelle for her concert piano pieces in the finale. We have four tactile interpreters, additional tactile guides, a social haptic consultant, technical manager, two support workers. They are managed by my producer and co– ceo Stacey Baldwin and myself. ‘I listened with my fingertips’ - Audience Member, feedback for a showing in 2014 Touch is an incredibly profound sense. You use every muscle, every pore, every inch of flesh to navigate your way and to communicate. In ‘Imagined Touch’, Heather and Michelle’s stories of becoming Deafblind led to a sense of isolation that no one could ever truly fathom. This isolation, along with memories of connection, terror and friendship, has been distilled into a touch choreographic sequence designed for every audience member to experience. The isolation sequence is literally leaving each audience member alone for five minutes with headphones and goggles where they need to take their own steps. The connection sequence is taking the audience member by the hand and gently reassuring them they are safe and guiding them to a seat. The terror sequence is taking them by the hand and running that person around the room. Friendship is having audience members meet one another through touch by feeling one another’s face and exploring their own way of communicating. ‘The only way out is through.’ - Helen Keller, Deafblind political activist As director, I felt that the best way to communicate Heather and Michelle’s subjective experiences was by using the senses of the audience. Using light, sound and touch, our team created a metaphorical journey of Heather and Michelle’s sensory deterioration, isolation, longing for connection and the relief when someone puts out their hand.
Artists speak about their experiences and claiming spaces as artists with disability.