In 2012, as part of the Disability Olympiad Cymru, I was commissioned by UCAN Productions, the brilliant Cardiff-based theatre group run for and run by young visually-impaired people in Wales, to collaborate with one of their members, the exceptionally talented composer Lloyd Coleman, who had been commissioned to write a new orchestral work to be recorded by the BBC Wales Symphonia. It had to be relevant to the Olympics and Disability.
So, I came up with the narrative concept of telling the story of the Athenian herald Pheidippides who broke through the wall of endurance as he carried news to the Persian invasion to different city states to try and enlist their help. Metaphorically, for Lloyd and I, this represents the walls of endurance disabled people must break through in order to do work, pursue careers, just live.
I wrote a multi-voice script before I heard the music and the results were as good as you’d expect in such circumstances! Then eventually I heard the music and I had only a few days to write a solo voice script which I then recorded in Cardiff. This is the result. The music is beautifully played by the BBC Wales under the direction of Nicholas Collen. Lloyd, who is hearing as well as sight-impaired and who, at the time of this collaboration was only 17 years old, kept saying, as we worked together, what a privilege it was for him to work with me. I remember telling him that in only a few years he would realise that actually the reverse is true. I hope you’ll agree with me that his talent is exceptional? And that you enjoy this–take time, it’s beautiful.