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Gordon Murray

Speak with a listening voice

Made in collaboration with the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, The Nuclear Community Charity Fund and The Fallout Descendants Organisation, Fallout: Portraits of Nuclear Children was an attempt to find a new form which moved beyond community and verbatim theatre whilst still retaining the authenticity of voice of testimony that these forms allow. This emerging form mixes real testimony with dramatized fiction framed within musical composition, sfx, and sound worlds. The form allows for testimony move away from the live space and to be listened to by the very communities who speak it and in doing so express and see the expression of previously hidden conditions that are embedded in the nuclear child.

This paper will attempt to place Fallout: Portraits of Nuclear Children in a lineage which includes the film work of Tony Harrison and Simon Armitage, the experiments in sound by artists such as Janet Cardiff and the verbatim theatre work of artists such as Alecky Blyth. Using as springboard some of the work and ideas of the critic and writer John Berger (who was said by Simon McBurney to ‘write with a listening voice’), this paper will attempt to use notion of a listening voice in analysing of the work.

Gordon Murray is Senior Lecturer in Drama (Community Theatre & Media). He worked as a freelance theatre director for 20 years, as a panel member for Warehouse Theatre International Playwriting Competition, as a Drama teacher for children with Autism for Cambrian Education Group, and as manager of a Theatre Pub. As an applied theatre practitioner he has worked in prisons, SEN schools, and on development projects in Asia and Africa. He is an associate of The Miniaturists, a writer-led theatre project housed at the Arcola Theatre, where he regularly directs plays and works with new writers. Gordon is currently working on a project in collaboration with the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association using verbatim theatre as campaigning tool in relation to British nuclear testing veterans and their descendants. The academic offspring to this involves an interest in the Nuclear Uncanny as embodied state in nuclear survivors. His latest project Fallout: Portraits of Nuclear Children won the Society for Social Studies of Science Making and Doing award 2018