Aphasia New Music Group
The Aphasia New Music Group is a collaboration between adults with aphasia, their loved ones, and music makers. Over nine months from autumn 2022, the group will develop a new music practice and co-compose original music for public performances in summer 2023. The project is is co-produced by Oedipa and Second Movement, and delivered in partnership with senior speech and language therapists at UCL’s Communication Clinic.
Pre-pandemic, this work was initially planned to be a new opera called Speak Red, co-created by adults with communication disabilities, writer/director FXXX BXXXXX, composer Santa Bušs and producer Abigail Toland. The project was inspired by the true story of Ruby Mcdonough. Ruby had severe paralysis and aphasia, and was sexually assaulted by a member of staff in the care home where she lived. With lawyer Wendy Murphy, Ruby embarked on an extraordinary journey to fight discrimination at all levels of society, ultimately changing the legal system by setting a precedent for the proper treatment of people with communication disabilities. In work-in-progress in 2019, Ruby’s story was framed by the experiences of non-professional performers who live with aphasia and other disabilities.
Pictures of Alice, Eunice, Gerald, Haide, Héloïse, Isabella, Jawad, Jayne, Yazid, Jesus, Joe, Kim, Laide, Nick, Pierre, Sam and Sandie below were taken at Rough for Opera in May 2019, where the company told some of Ruby’s story through music, song and spoken word (© Claire Shovelton).