Speak Red is an opera project co-created by adults with communication disabilities, writer/director FXXX BXXXXX, composer Santa Bušs and producer Abigail Toland. The project is inspired by the true story of Ruby Mcdonough. Ruby had severe paralysis and aphasia (affecting the use of language and narrative information processing), 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. Ruby’s story is framed by an integrated company of professional and non-professional collaborators, who live with aphasia and other disabilities.
After research and development across 2019, an ambitious new opera will now be created through regular workshops in multiple locations and residencies at Snape Maltings with Britten-Pears Arts. The creative process is also designed to develop new, opera-based tools for use in speech and language therapy. Speak Red is co-produced by Oedipa and Second Movement, and delivered in partnership with senior speech and language therapists at UCL.
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 (© Claire Shovelton).