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D4D: Electric Bodies - 'Thalidomide Acts' poetry and interview content

posted on 2022-03-31, 20:54 authored by Mat Fraser, Allan Sutherland
D4D (Disability and Community: Dis/engagement, Dis/enfranchisement, Dis/parity and Dissent) was a four year AHRC Connected Communities project investigating issues around disability and community.

Electric Bodies was one of the eight project strands. It explored the relationship between the disabled artist and the disability arts community through a series of extensive life history interviews edited into transcription poetry cycles.

'Thalidomide Acts' is a cycle of transcription poems written by Allan Sutherland. They are based on interviews conducted by Sutherland with the performer Mat Fraser.

The poems cover Fraser's early life, his experiences as someone with a thalidomide impairment, his time as drummer in a punk band and his early years in Graeae Theatre. They also cover his work in television and his move to the United States, where he became a leading figure in the New York burlesque scene. Fraser describes the genesis of such stage shows as 'Sealboy: Freak' and 'Beauty and the Beast' as well as his work in the top US TV series 'American Horror Story: Freak Show'. He analyses the barriers in mainstream television to a performer such as him, in demand if they need a freak but never cast as the guy next door.

This item contains the following files:

The poems (PDF)
Recording of Allan Sutherland reading the poems (MP3)
Transcript of the interview (PDF)
Audio of the interview (6 x MP3)

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