An acting career wrecked by M.E. will be revived this coming Wednesday (December 10) – when Gemma Christie appears on one of Britain's premier multi-media performance stages at Media City, Salford.
She will be performing in a play devised with Chris Salt at the University of Salford's Digital Performance Lab, and the whole event will be streamed live through her website www.gemmaclimbshermountain.com
The performance will last about half an hour and there will be a Q&A session immediately afterwards. Some of the film footage was shot behind the scenes at the ME Association's ME Question Time event in Oxford at the end of September.
“This will be the first time I have been on stage since M.E. put an end to my performing career, but I am fortunate to be surrounded by a cast and crew that are doing all they possibly can to accommodate the challenges I face”, said Gemma.
“The piece is entitled Gemma Climbs Her Mountain and yes, it really does feel like that! Wish me luck!”
She'd love to see as many people as possible with ME/CFS there. Tickets are available free at www.eventbrite.com/e/gemma-climbs-her-mountain-tickets-13729743031?aff=eac2 and, if you would like to donate to The ME Association on the door, she would like that, too.
HERE ARE THE PROGRAMME NOTES
Gemma Climbs Her Mountain is an Arts Council-funded research & development project. Over the past 12 weeks we have been researching, writing, shooting, composing, recording, editing and rehearsing this multidisciplinary performance piece offering unique insight into what it's like to live with an incurable disease – raising awareness of, and hope for, sufferers, their friends, family, carers.
At the centre of this performance and this process is Gemma Christie.
She suffers from M.E. Her strength of character, poise, innate talent and commitment has been the inspiration for this piece. Around her the creative team has woven a story of hope drawn from despair.
Both Gemma and the team have known all along that Gemma herself might not be well enough to perform tonight. If she makes it through it will be a huge achievement for her, if she falters then the achievement will be no less impressive. For the team supporting her, this is also a test.
We begin tonight, as we have begun the last four days of rehearsal, entering the unknown; a glimpse into the world of the M.E. patient where energy and health place everyday on a knife-edge.
Our website has tracked the development of the project and an online survey has brought in nearly 200 correspondents who have generously shared their experience of living with this invisible and incurable disease. This testimony has been assimilated into the final script which will be available here too and tonight’s performance is being streamed live. www.gemmaclimbshermountain.com/
Our aim is to encourage debate around M.E. specifically but more widely about living with any incurable disease and we are actively seeking partners to help take the project to the next stage, which is to tour the piece around the country.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Arts Council England and The ME Association for their support thus far; Frances Piper and the University of Salford for facilitating the project, including the gift of this wonderful performance space; Professor Simon Carding, Lady Mar, Dr Charles Shepherd and Dr Nigel Speight for their time and knowledge and Anne-Marie Crowther and PANDA for their encouragement and expertise.
We are asking for donations for the ME Association – if you would like to make a donation there is a collection box at the door
writer and director
stage design and videographer
technical director; audio-visual design
co-director and puppet master
social media and technical assistant
physical theatre director
composer and musician
For the DPL
Andy Smith. CTD Live performance and Events