Unspoken Variety Night, London


The inclusive team at Unspoken, get Outspoken, raising money to give people without speech a voice

Unspoken, a London-based arts, drama and entertainment organisation, are holding their second variety night on Saturday 25th January at Tottenham Chances, to raise money for a unique performing arts project that will give people without speech a voice. The evening brings together a diverse range of artists showcasing pieces based on the theme of communication

The project, which launched last year, aims to bring together people who use communication aids to express themselves (known as augmentative and alternative communication – AAC), and other artists to develop and stage a theatrical performance in 2015 that focuses on the issue of communication.

The variety event, Unspoken Outspoken, hosted by Jason Why from 8pm, will feature a range of performers including Rebecca Walker – the main protagonist from Unspoken’s play in development – and her sidekicks Bonny and Buster, Dectalk Diva – Unspoken’s very own synthesized singer, singers Lucia Bellini and Tina Linsey alongside poet Anthony Fairweather. The money raised will go towards funding development workshops that will be held in this summer, focusing on script writing and raising awareness of AAC in the community. Unspoken’s last event raised over £300, with some of the funds being used to purchase a portable ramp for use at the Tottenham Chances venue.

Unspoken is a unique project led by AAC user Kate Caryer and her creative partners Cazz Regan and Wendy Greenwell. The Unspoken Project aims to provide awareness of communication issues through the use of art, drama, and entertainment. Speaking about the activity, Kate Caryer who has cerebral palsy and uses an AAC device to communicate, said: “In this society if you haven’t got speech you don’t have a voice. In the world of theatre and drama, people with communication difficulties are rarely given a voice and we want to change this by raising awareness of this unspoken situation. The Shining a Light report [1] by Communication Matters suggested that fewer than half of the people who need a communication aid actually have access to them. By combining performing arts and communication aids, we strive to create something that raises awareness as well as being fun and accessible to mainstream audiences.

“Unspoken is a coming-of-age story with a new voice centered around the experiences and thoughts of Rebecca Walker, a young adult who has no speech, nor the use of a communication aid. Using the ideas from the play we want to work with a range of artists in creative environments focusing on communication. Unspoken Outspoken will be our opportunity to engage with our local community and raise awareness of communication issues within the mainstream community.”

Since the first Unspoken Outspoken event took place, Caryer has joined Channel 4’s continuity team introducing some of the channel’s biggest shows in a bid to normalise the presence of disabled people on TV and has blogged for a number of organisations including Scope and I CAN, the children’s communication charity.

Some children and adults find communication difficult because they have little or no clear speech. There are many reasons including as a result of cerebral palsy, stroke, head injury, motor neurone disease or learning difficulty. Alternative and augmentative communication encompasses a wide variety of non-standard communication methods that enable people to participate in their local communities and to make friends, share feelings, ideas, and experiences.

The January 25th Unspoken Outspoken event will be held from 8pm at Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, London, N17 6QN. Entry is £7. All proceeds will go towards the Unspoken Project. Unspoken will be holding more Unspoken Outspoken events this spring.

[1] Shining a Light on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, part of the AAC Evidence Base project (2013)