Shame Chorus is an uplifting new music and spoken word performance art piece in reaction to the shame of being gay as experienced by the London Gay Men’s Chorus. It was created by artist and University of Arts London (UAL) lecturer Jordan McKenzie who teaches BA Drawing at Camberwell College of Arts. It will premiere on 8 October 2016 at the London Irish Centre in Camden, London.
Working in collaboration with the Freud Museum in London, psychoanalyst Susie Orbach and the London Gay Men’s Chorus, Jordan gave anonymised psychoanalytic interview material from the choir about their experiences of being gay and coming out onto a range of well-known composers, to make new uplifting positive therapeutic songs. Composers involved include Billy Bragg, David McAlmont, Conor Mitchell, Sarah Morrison, Steven Smith and Verity Susman, plus many more.
Jordan McKenzie, international artist, UAL Lecturer and creator of Shame Chorus said:
I wanted to make something positive and uplifting out of the negative experiences that the LGBTQ community across the country had faced in reaction to coming out. This is the transformative power of art – it helps us to question, make sense of things and communicate – and what better way to overcome shame than through loud and powerful song.
The project’s starting point is Sigmund Freud’s famous ‘talking cure’, a mode of psychoanalytic analysis where a patient talks in order to allow the therapist to uncover hidden, repressed and unconscious desires. Susie Orbach and Sally Berry conducted the series of psychoanalytic interviews with members of the London Gay Men’s Chorus, asking them to recall memories of feeling shamed – events that may have in part shaped their feelings about themselves and their sexuality.
As part of a UAL sneak preview, also filmed for BBC London, journalist Paul Prentice interviewed Jordan McKenzie about the inspiration for the project:
Book tickets for the performance on Saturday 8 October via www.shamechorus.com & follow #ShameChorus on social media for latest news