Interview with Catherine Church

Invisible Music is a new digital experience from acclaimed performance company Platform 4, raising awareness for those with hearing loss. I caught up with Artistic Director Catherine Church to find out more about this personal project.

Can you tell me about Invisible Music?
On tour in 2018, we would describe it to people as, ‘A live concept album’! Now it has this exciting, extra life as a film, I guess I would describe it as beautiful, unusual, immersive, unexpected, and thought provoking. It is a ‘digital meditation’ – plug in – tune in and focus for 45 minutes – calm and relaxing hopefully!

What inspired the idea?
It’s a very personal piece, it was inspired by my mother’s own experience of hearing loss – I never realised, until I started going to the lip-reading classes with her, and getting to know the other members, how much she was lip reading us all when we saw her at home. She had been performing this magic trick every day because her hearing had deteriorated so much – and yet I never knew how bad it had become and how masterful she had become at making it look like she was ‘hearing’ – until then.
As Sue says in the film: ‘it was quite a surprise.’

What can audiences expect?
I hope they are touched and enlightened to how the world can seem for people who don’t hear as well – as one of our audience members said after seeing the piece: “I will go home with renewed patience for my mother in law!” That is a bit of a flippant answer – I just hope the curious, questing spirit of the people who helped us create the piece comes through.

How have you found creating this experience while in lockdown?
It made me really feel in a way I hadn’t before when we were touring the live show, how it really feels to be isolated and disconnected from the world, from friends and wider family. This kind of disconnection is how many people with hearing loss feel every day – lockdown made me feel this way.

What would you like Invisible Music to achieve?
If it helps people to understand how it feels to have hearing loss to go home and look at family and friends in a slightly more empathetic way – then amazing. It is a beautiful way to lose yourself for 45 minutes too and maybe think about how we all can make assumptions day to day – and they are not (usually) the sum of the person.

Invisible Music will premiere online on Wednesday 15th July at 8pm.

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