Connect member, Wayne Witney shares his experiences of joining a theatre company, Unscene Suffolk which was founded for visually impaired people.
In 2013 Unscene Suffolk met for the first time. The idea of the group is for a number of visually impaired people to meet once a week with the aim of putting on a public performance and all the performers are 18 and over.
Before performing with Unscene Suffolk, I presented my own weekly radio show on my college radio as part of a media A-level. I also took part in many school plays and other performing roles this included playing keyboard, drums, guitar and cornet. The reason I have chosen to continue to perform is probably because of the amount of confidence that it gives me, because when I was presenting the radio show, although the listeners would not have known it, the anxiety was always there just before I went live. Several people have asked me “do you get nervous before a show” my answer to that will always be “yes”
All the performances so far have been well attended and most audiences have been lively and the reviews were positive. This year, all the performances (apart from the last two) have been staged in primary schools in Suffolk.
So far the project has performed the following:
What makes this drama group different for me is that each script has an input from the cast, and each performance is made accessible to the cast by marking out the stage with guide ropes so that all the performers know where to stand. Some of the cast help each other to navigate the stage as well.
Another reason this group works so well is because we have an incredible support crew which includes sighted guides, directors and musicians and some of the cast play instruments as well. Most of the sound production is done before the shows; however some sound effects are live.
As a performer, I have had the privilege of having songs written for me and I have loved singing then. The characters I've played have included The Witch Finder General, a Roman soldier, a television director, a tour guide and Charles Robinson Junior and many more, both fictional and nonfictional.
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