Telling Stories – tells the life story of disabled artist Julie McNamara

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Julie McNamara

‘Telling Stories’ is a cycle of transcription poems based on a series of interviews with the writer and performer Julie McNamara, the founder of Vital Xposure theatre company.

The poems describe growing up in a poor Irish family on Merseyside, a family of story-tellers, the part physical disability played in that family and the way that, as a girl child, McNamara was treated by her father as the son he’d never had.

McNamara tells how she first became involved with theatre while a student, and how in the same period she had the first breakdown that led to her becoming ‘a psychiatric patient at the age of 20′.   She recounts her journey to disability arts (‘my tribe’), leading to her role as Co-ordinator of London Disability Arts Forum.

‘Telling Stories’ describes McNamara’s later development as a writer/performer, starting with ‘Pig Tales’, and the unexpected support of the Arts Council, which led to the setting-up of Vital Xposure.  It gives detailed descriptions of the creation of such works as ‘The Knitting Circle’, ‘Crossings’ and ‘Whisper Me Happy Ever After’.

You can download a PDF copy of the cycle of transcription poems by clicking on Julie McNamara – Telling Stories

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’ (LINK).

Previous examples of my transcription poetry work can be found on the archived pages of ‘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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