Guest blog from Katie Caryer: Why is your voice important?

What is your voice? Why is it important? These questions aren’t the sort of questions that many people think about often, unless you are into philosophy or have had to work to get a voice… people like me for example!

I am Kate and my voice mainly comes from a communication aid. I have athetoid cerebral palsy and I cannot control my mouth muscles to make speech, but right now I am talking to you about the importance of voice.

My experience is that the lives of people without speech and their experiences go unspoken in the performing arts. I have a life long passion for drama and I intend to change this situation by searching far and wide across the land for the gems amongst the communication aid-using world giving them an opportunity to take the limelight.

I have teamed up with Cazz Regan and Wendy Greenwell (two old friends) to embark on a venture to bring together the worlds of drama, performance and alternative and augmentative communication (AAC). This venture has become known as the Unspoken Project

The Unspoken Project is the first (to our knowledge) performing arts project to be founded by, and have at the centre of its management, a person without vocal speech.

At the moment we are just setting ourselves up and fundraising so that we can achieve our goals over the next 18 months – we are buzzing with so many ideas!

We held an event recently and at the centrepiece of this was the first ever chapter of #myvoiceis – a compilation of contributors answering ‘What is your voice?’ and ‘Why is it important?’ featuring communication aid users. The video is available to view here

Our main goals are to raise awareness of alternative voices in our local community and beyond, and also to stage a professional production of Unspoken! the play.

The play features a fictional character, Rebecca Walker, who is a 19 year old woman with no speech and her quest to find a voice. We want to draw on the experiences of real life disabled people during development to bring this coming of age story to life, especially the experiences of those people who

Get in touch and get involved at www.facebook.com/UnspokenAAC @UnspokenAAC #myvoiceis or email UnspokenProjectAAC@gmail.com

Katie Caryer

As part of Channel 4’s Born Risky initiative, Katie joined four other people with communication difficulties this December to introduce some of the channel’s biggest shows as part of their continuity team. To find out more, visit http://www.channel4.com/programmes/bornrisky/articles/all/alternative-voices