June - July 2020

This summer at Snape Maltings Creative Campus, opera makersspeech and language therapists and people living with aphasia will join forces. In a project supported by UCL and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, artist FXXX BXXXXX and his team will explore how opera-making could be used in therapy for adults with aphasia.

Aphasia is a communication disability which can occur after brain damage, causing severe difficulty using language and understanding stories. Living with aphasia means having to change the way you communicate. This means using a variety of methods of communication, similar to the combination of words, music and pictures in opera.

At the heart of this project are a series of workshops for people with aphasia living locally to Snape. These workshops will explore how we express emotion, and how artists and therapists can work together to support people with aphasia. Most importantly, the team will be guided by the experiences and ideas of people living with aphasia. Together, we will look at:

  • new tools for speech and language therapy which empower service users
  • what singing and staging can teach us about communication
  • how opera can help us tell personal stories and understand each other

Photo by Claire Shovelton

Artist Profiles:


FXXX BXXXXX is an artist working across opera, theatre and installation. He is artistic director of Oedipa, and leading on projects in development at The Royal Opera House and Bristol Old Vic. He has made work for Strike a Light, the Young Vic (where he won the Genesis Future Directors Award), Stroom Den Haag, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, London Sinfonietta, Open House London, Live Drafts at the Yard and the Music Theatre Creation Lab at Helsinki Festival. In 2015 Finn held the Lina Bo Bardi Fellowship, appointed by the British Council, Sesc São Paulo and Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi.

Santa Bušs

Santa Bušs is a Latvian composer especially interested in detailed pre-compositional process and working with extra-musical ideas (found in other art forms, physiology, history, mythology, nature, architecture, medicine, sports, philosophy, etc.). She has studied both composition and musicology at the Latvian Academy of Music and Hamburg University of Music and Theatre. Her works have been performed throughout Europe, in North America and Asia, for example by BIT20 Ensemble (Norway), Divertimento Ensemble (Italy), IEMA (Germany) and conductor Clemens Heil, Ensemble Aleph (France), Altera Veritas (Latvia), Ensemble Aris (South Korea), Ensemble 21 de la HEM (Switzerland), Ensemble Kochi (Japan) with conductor Isao Matsushita, Ensemble mise-en NY, Ensemble Multilatérale (France) with conductor Léo Warynski, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain (France) with conductor Daniel Kawka, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble with conductor Sharon Choa, Leipziger Bläserquintett, Quintus Anima (Latvia) with conductor Ainārs Rubiķis, Sinfonietta Rīga with conductor Normunds Šnē, Orchestra Rīga, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra and conductors Zsolt Nagy and Andris Poga. Finn and Santa met at Snape Maltings, on the Jerwood Opera Writing Programme 2014-15.

Researcher Profiles:

Carol Sacchett PhD

Carol Sacchett PhD, MRCSLT is a speech and language therapist, and Principal Teaching Fellow at UCL and Director of Studies in SLT, with overall responsibility for SLT education in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences. A specialist in acquired adult neurology in both acute and community settings for 17 years, Carol managed the Adult Neurology service at Oxleas NHS Trust, and was then awarded the Tavistock Trust for Aphasia Research Fellowship in 2000. She is also a registered intermediary in the UK criminal justice system, and has a body of research exploring the use of drawing and visual communication in SLT practice.

Carolyn Bruce PhD

Carolyn Bruce PhD, MRCSLT is a speech and language therapist, and Lecturer/ Director of UCL Communication Clinic in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL. Her research interest can broadly be described as the rehabilitation of acquired communication difficulties. Much of this research has focused on spoken word production. However, more recently this has extended to acquired disorders of reading and writing. In particular, she is interested in exploring how voice recognition can be used to support and develop spoken and written language.