As Far As Isolation Goes // Tania El Khoury and Basel Zaraa

As described in the Care & Destruction programme, “As Far As Isolation Goes uses touch, sound, and interactivity to bring audience members in contact with those faced with inhumane detention centres and a mental health system that disregard their political and emotional contexts.”

I faced a wall with headphones hung at the side and a seat facing sideways. Right next to it was a hole big enough for an adult arm to go through. I put on the headphones and started hearing haunting music. Suddenly a voice starts speaking and I’m told I need to put my arm through the hole - which is gently guided in. I listen to the voice telling me about systems and policies, about separation, isolation and loss. I feel strange, a little disoriented, and start to get lost in my own thoughts and feelings on the matter.

All the while, I feel the touch of someone who I cannot see drawing on my arm. It is a strange feeling for me and I start to concentrate on what’s going on around my arm. I find myself thinking “I wonder what is happening?”. It feels uncomfortable that my arm is being drawn on by an artist, who I am assume has lived the experiences and whose voice I am hearing through the recording in the headphones. My feeling is not unlike other feelings I have experienced when hearing the stories of migration, of loss, of struggle, of the need to be respected as a human being. This feels like it needs to be heard.

At this point I get lost in my thoughts about this particular issue and the audio is a bit of a blur. I quickly regain focus because I want to listen to and hear what’s being said. At the heart of it all is a story, a story where hope has been eradicated in places like Palestine, a story where people are literally fleeing for their lives, a story where upon reaching the so called promised land they’re treated as unwelcome guests, aliens, as not worthy of having access to opportunities. At the end, my arm is freed, and I feel relief, and passed to me is a piece of chalk to write what I like on the wall that divides us. For a fleeting moment, I feel I am the refugee and write a comment about how capitalism needs reform, as this struggle is related to the capitalistic ideals much of the world holds dear.

- Amar Hussein

Links relevant to this diagnosis:

Tania El Khoury / Basel Zaraa

Music in Detention

‘The Jungle’: Putting the Refugee Crisis Centre Stage - NY Review of Books

The Jungle - National Theatre

EU Claims Migrant Crisis is Over - Quartz

#UKDrillProject // HighRise Theatre


When a performance starts with a rave, you might think of it as being quite bizarre. People were being asked for their ID upon entering, which gave off the impression that you were about to enter a night club. When you did you found a VIP section and a drinks bar at the ready. DRILL music was being blasted out of the stereos. DRILL music videos were being played on the wall, which you could put headphones on and listen to. This immersive part of the performance gave the audience a chance to get to know one another and break the ice. Whilst you were in this room you become more aware of your surroundings. It was a chance to appreciate the images and displays that were shown on the walls. One in particular was quite intriguing - not a picture per-se but a type of fact file which explained in bold letters how two DRILL rappers had been sentenced to nine months in prison because they were performing their music to a live audience.  


As the partying part of the performance came to an end we were then led into the auditorium. Here the performers addressed the stereotyping and racial discrimination of people who listen to DRILL, and how DRILL is deemed to be a main source of street crime. Where people are inexplicably being arrested because of the colour of their skin, DRILL and the type of music they listen to is the excuse. Why it is ok to arrest an individual whom was just revising for an exam, or just calmly walking down the street? As the performance tried to show, nobody wants crime, nobody wants to see their friend being shot in front of their eyes, and nobody wants to be stabbed on their way home from school. People unjustifiably force people into one category, and have been doing so for so long that those people are then saying to themselves “if that’s what they think of me then I might as well fit their description. Maybe then they will leave me alone”. Members of the public are getting up to two years in prison and why? It’s the DRILL music, apparently. 


Society has branded DRILL (a form of expression) as a violent form that we must get rid of in order to make the streets safer. In order to really make the streets safer, Theresa May and the government need to actually listen to the youth, the up-and-coming generation, for they have the answers to how to stop gun and knife crime. If you are not listening and have already made your mind up, if you blame DRILL, then you haven’t caught the right guy, you’ve framed him.

-       Selen Adem


Links relevant to this diagnosis:

HighRise Theatre

#UKDRILLProject - GQ

What is UK Drill? - Red Bull Music

 Conversation on Drill Arrests - Reddit

Unkown T Interview - Evening Standard

Fury1/FuryZ // Last Yearz Interesting Negro, Rowdy SS and Shelley Parker


Standing in a club space with occasional flashes to illuminate the dancing body and the active DJ. Wielded by the audience, beams of torchlight tracing back the gaze and the slow traverse of the space by a single figure on the floor, watched over by the music. Snatches of text singing out of the audio blur. 


Sitting on a dance floor, staring up at the dancer weaving between the crowd and moving on the high podium. A whispered negotiation of support leading to a step up the back of a kneeling man. Furious dance filled with flashes of neon colour. Transitions across the floor to these stages as much a part of its content as what happens up there.


In both, the music pounding through my chest as it does through the body of the dancer. Involuntary swaying and nodding around the central defiance of the performer, the audience perhaps unsure of their expected role but staring away. Left in the moment, outside but in.

In both, the intricacies of experience traced across the body by the eyes of those watching. An assertion of experience, of difference and sameness marked by race/gender/sex/ability. Each of the pieces unstable in its liveness and immediate in its impact.

Sound as a partner not accompaniment, responsive to the movement of the crowd as much as the journey of the dancer. Blurring the border between ‘dance’ and ‘Dance’, the questions of form and participation that define and insist on integrity to established forms. 

- Lewis Church

Links relevant to this diagnosis:

Last Yearz Interesting Negro (Jamila Johnson-Small) - Fury1/FuryZ

Rowdy SS (Soundcloud)

Shelley Parker (Soundcloud)

Different Angles - AQNB

In Conversation with Last Yearz Interesting Negro - Skin Deep

Some Thoughts on Capital-D Dance - Movement Research

The Beat of Our Drums // Kevin Richards

How and where do you feel the beat of drums? Ask people to give a word to describe their experience and the most common one is ‘visceral’. The response starts in the head, the heart, the hips, the toes…a different place for each person. Many will say the rhythm touches their souls and wakes their spirit. Watch those who have let themselves go with the drumbeat. They can seem to be in a dream, on drugs or disconnected from the world beyond the rhythm. The music of band leader Benny Goodman was banned for some time because the drum playing of Gene Krupa was thought to be encouraging sexual responses.

There are few people who can remain still when they hear drums. A very few reject it, maybe because they recognise that it is reaching inside to a part which they do not want exposed. 

In The Beat of Our Drums Kevin Richards, who has been running djembe drumming sessions throughout Kent for twenty years, took a roomful of adults and children through the basics of playing the djembe, a chalice-shaped drum from West Africa. 

Rather than just giving out instructions, Kevin used images and analogies to teach us, making the learning easier and more interesting. Instead of 'Hit the drum', he would say 'Lift the sound out of the drum' Instead of 'get quieter', 'fade as if you are walking out of the door'.

Kevin explained that the drums were often used to send messages so we played to simple phrases using just the bass (B) and the tom tom (T) tones:

‘To the pulse, to the pulse. Won’t you take me to the pulse.’ (TTB TTB TTBT TTB)

We practised these phrases for several minutes before Kevin told us to listen to his playing and add our own rhythms. Initially there was a cacophony but gradually we synchronised and varied volume and pace along with him. We could feel that our quieter playing was soothing, while our louder playing created urgency. We became confident and everybody seemed to be lost in the rhythms. This combined drumming continued for many minutes and, as many of us closed our eyes to let the rhythm take over, it was mesmerising.

Each participant responded differently…some moved nothing except for their hands; some moved their heads; others almost bounced. It was interesting to see some of the passers-by adapting their pace to the sound of our drums; some even started dancing. 

Eventually Kevin led us deliberately faster and louder until we finished with a liberating ‘boom’.

Learning a new musical instrument can be frustrating when you are unable to make the sounds, the notes, the tune. But with the djembe, we were clearly playing it to a level with which even a beginner can be satisfied.

One participant came out and said she had found it satisfying, inclusive, democratic and a session which had created a sense of community. Not bad for just 60 minutes!

- Joy Pascoe


Links relevant to this diagnosis:

Rich Rhythms - Drum Workshops in Kent and the South East

Bruce Allen Drums

Mamapama Live at the Folkestone Harbour Arm

Ensonglopedia of Science // John Hinton

Featuring a song for every letter of the alphabet on a different scientific topic, the ambition of this performance is to make some impressively complicated ideas accessible and enjoyable for younger audiences. N is for neuron, P for Phylogeny and R for Relativity, which comes complete with a rap. And whilst as with any performance that aspires to present 26 moments of genius the hit rate varies,  the clarity of the scientific concepts is maintained throughout. Ensonglopedia of Science is couched in vaudevillian humour, and although the accent used for the ‘Cell Calypso’ is unfortunate, the other humour helps difficult ideas to stick.  

It’s goal of familiarising the young audience with the mechanics of scientific inquiry, foregrounding the central process of a hypothesis tested by experimentation, is vitally important in an era of fake news and alternative facts. As scientists have continually asserted, one of the biggest issues they face is the way that the public understand the language and processes of science. It is essential that both the public and politicians appreciate what is meant by terms like ‘theory’ and ‘proof’ in relation to the research of scientists. Correcting misrepresentations, particularly amongst the young, could help avoid the kind of debate seen around the validity of the science of climate change, for example. Greater scientific education can leave the next generation less susceptible to the distortions of research in the service of political positions.

Hinton is in a long line of performer/scientists that engage with the silly to help foster understanding, from Don Herbert to Bill Nye, a family friendly entertainer and educator. Manic energy and the breakneck speed with which he moves from one song to the next relates to the fizzing of electricity, the vastness of space and the breadth of human inquiry.

- Lewis Church


Links relevant to this diagnosis:

Ensonglopedia of Science - John Hinton

10 Scientific Ideas Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing - Gizmodo

The Association of Science Education

Engaging and Educating the Public on Environmental Science - BioMed Central

How to Make Hydrogen - Mr Wizard (Don Herbert)

Climate Debates on Television - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver



Nils Bergstrand was the first disabled person to graduate from the musical theatre course at London's Royal Academy of Music. He auditioned after a passion for singing revealed itself through therapeutic exercises in acknowledging positive responses to the world, undertaken to cope with the post-traumatic stress of losing his leg.