‘Stories of Power’ – tells the life story of disabled artist Jess Thom

portrait photo

Touretteshero co-founder Jess Thom. Photo by Laura Page

‘Stories of Power’ is a cycle of transcription poems based on a series of interviews with the writer and performer Jess Thom, the co-founder of Touretteshero.

The poems describe a life lived with Tourette’s, starting with growing up as a neuro-diverse child (not, at the time, diagnosed with Tourette’s), and experiences of the special school system.

Thom describes how she went from art college to playwork, and from there started to develop an arts practice., which led in time to the setting-up of Touretteshero with her colleague Matthew Pountney.

‘Stories of Power’ describes the devising and performance of  ‘Backstage in Biscuit Land’, the show which first brought Touretteshero to public prominence, and the live television ‘Broadcast in Biscuit Land’.

Thom describes her performance of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Not I’, including the process of getting permission from the Beckett estate.  She also advances the idea that all performances should be relaxed performances, which do not exclude disabled people.

2019. You can download a PDF copy of the cycle of transcription poems by clicking on Jess Thom Stories of Power

More information about my work in transcription poetry can be found in the conference paper ‘Transcription poetry as a vehicle for documenting the lives of disabled people’. You can download a PDF copy by clicking on DSC Paper 2010 D2

Previous examples of my transcription poetry work can be found on Disability Arts Online

Other outcomes of this piece of work include archive materials such as sound recordings and interview transcripts.  We also plan readings.  With its distinctive voice and clear narrative line, transcription poetry lends itself well to live reading.

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