I'm Jess Thom – artist writer and part time superhero. I've got Tourettes Syndrome, a condition that makes me say ‘biscuit’ 16,000 times a day. My unusual neurology gives me a unique perspective on life, one I'm happy to share with the rest of the world.
Tourettes Syndrome is a neurological condition characterized by involuntary noises and movements called tics. It's one of the most frequently misunderstood conditions on the planet and is widely used as a by-word for excessive swearing (only 10% of people with Tourettes have swearing tics). But there's much more to this mysterious and complex condition.
The response has been incredible and Touretteshero's had some great TV and press coverage over the years. I've been interviewed on Stephen Fry's Planet Word and by Phil and Holly on This Morning. Extracts from my book Welcome to Biscuit Land have featured in the Observer and I've been on Woman's Hour and the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4.
Through Touretteshero I've come to realise that my tics are my power, not my problem. Now I need your help with a new exciting project.
About Backstage In Biscuit Land
Backstage in Biscuit Land is a brand new show for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival exploring spontaneity, creativity and disability. Expect ticcing, singing, stand-up, story telling and things you never knew would make you laugh. No two shows can ever be the same, but this will almost certainly be the most biscuity theatre ever.
With your help we'll be able to take audiences on a journey through the strange, surreal and magical world of Biscuit Land.
This playful and informative piece will share my personal experience of Tourettes Syndrome and allow space for reflection and audience participation.
What We Need
We've secured a great venue at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival but we need your help to make sure we've got everything we need to do the show justice. Here's how the money you pledge will be spent:
£2500 - Hire of the amazing Pleasance Above
£1200 - Accessible accommodation (Edinburgh's full of steep hills and winding staircases – we need to find a place to stay where I can roll in and out in my wheelchair!)
£1500 - PR and marketing to make sure everyone knows about our amazing show
£400 - Props, costume and puppets to bring Biscuit Land to life
£400 - The train fare to get us there (and back) in one piece
Even a superhero needs help and for this mission I'm being supported by and amazing team. They are:
Jolie Booth (Producer)
Jolie's a cutting edge producer with a passion for making creative and innovative work in a variety of mediums. She secured highly respected industry contracts early on in her career, including six years with world famous fool Jonathan Kay and three years with annual street arts festival the Streets of Brighton. She now works with a portfolio of high-caliber artists and companies that include: Tangram Theatre Company, Glass-Eye Theatre Company, Parrabbola and of course Touretteshero.
Jess Mabel Jones (Puppeteer)
Jess has worked extensively as a puppeteer and actress in theatre. Credits include: Improbable’s Beauty and the Beast, Blind Summit’s The Table and projects with the RSC, Little Angel Theatre and The Watermill. Jess is Associate Director of Finger in The Pie and programmer of the prestigious Finger in The Pie Cabaret. Jess has written The Tragic & Regrettable Life of Teofila Teodora de la Lima and numerous street theatre pieces for her old company Woodenfingers. Jess is currently working with Locoq company Rhum & Clay on Hardboiled and her autobiographical show My Name is Rifnur is being developed with the Battersea Arts Centre.
Matthew Pountney (Touretteshero co-founder)
Matthew's a London based musician and film-maker. He has extensive experience of working with disabled children and young people and he's devised and delivered a range of inclusive creative events at venues such as the South London Gallery, The Ritzy Brixton and Tate Britain. Although diverse in their themes and expression, these events all share the common goal of creating opportunities for participants to be imaginative, inventive and artistically free. Matthew co-founded Touretteshero in 2010 with Jess Thom.
Touretteshero Needs You!
Backstage in Biscuit Land will challenge the myths and assumptions associated with Tourettes Syndrome. Most importantly it will create a space in which the inventiveness, energy and unpredictability of the condition can be showcased and enjoyed by everyone.
Please join me on this important mission to change the world, 'one tic at a time.'
Risks and challenges
As an organization Touretteshero has a strong track record for creating wide-ranging work and engaging audiences, nationally and internationally. Our website attracts approximately 80,000 unique visitors per year from 186 countries. We've worked with varied creative collaborators and have a wide-ranging portfolio of media interviews, articles, public speaking, campaigning and performances.
Below are the five key challenges we face on our journey Backstage in Biscuit Land and how we're going to do to meet them.
1. Creating the show
We'll allow sufficient time to develop the show. We'll draw on the experience of established theatre professionals, venues, organizations and mentors. We have a strong project team, an abundance of creativity and a lot of surreal tics.
2. Maintaining health of the project team
We'll all take steps to promote good health and well-being. If necessary we'll make adjustments to workload or distribution of tasks or engage additional help, either on a voluntary or paid basis, as resources allow.
3. Managing any unforeseen problems with the venue or logistics
We already have a great venue in place, the Pleasance Above. We have a clear written agreement with the venue. We'll ensure good communication and thorough planning for all elements of the project and will deal with any problems that emerge quickly.
4. Securing the anticipated audience numbers
We'll promote the project widely and make good use of social media and our established network of Touretteshero supporters. The show we'll create will be unique and engaging so we expect people will want to talk about it and share it.
5. Managing the budget and cash flow
We'll record all income and expenditure carefully and accurately and review all budget areas regularly. This means we can Identify any shortfalls or surpluses and adjust our spending accordingly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)