Boy Braille sends audience into darkness at Dunedin Fringe
MEDIA RELEASE: Dunedin Fringe 2018
1 March 2018
Reading aloud is something most people take for granted but Dunedin blind woman Julie Woods is about to take on a reading-aloud assignment of a lifetime as part of the Dunedin Fringe from 11 to 13 March.
After learning braille at the age of 35, Julie will be reading a story about Louis Braille, the French inventor who developed the reading and writing system for blind people in 1824 when he was just 15 years of age.
Performed partially in the dark, and read in the medium that Louis Braille created, Boy Braille tells of the impact of Louis’ legacy on blind people all around the world, including Julie.
“I was so inspired by Louis’ story when I learned braille and I hope others will be too,” says Julie Woods, aged 51. “But I can’t deny I’m not nervous about reading aloud with my braille reading fingers.”
Also inspired by Louis’ story is Julie’s older sister, Amanda Phillips, who has teamed up with Julie under the banner of Double Trouble Productions. A nickname given to the pair by Amanda’s husband, the two Dunedin sisters have created this performance exclusively for the Dunedin Fringe.
“I learned French at high school,” Amanda says, “so when we thought about doing an event together in the Dunedin Fringe it seemed to be a story that inspired both of us.”
Included in the performance will be letters written by Louis, read aloud in a recording by local 15-year-old Jacob Tichy; a visual story about the impact of Louis’ life on Julie’s life; and a letter Julie has written to Louis in braille on a manual braille writing machine.
The performance will take place during the Dunedin Fringe at the Fortune Studio at 6pm on 11 – 13 March with all audience members leaving with their very own name in braille.
This production was made possible with the support of Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust, Dunedin City Council, University of Otago: Division of Humanities, Performing Arts Fund, the Creative Communities Scheme, The Blind Foundation, Otago Access Radio and Disability Information: Dunedin. Artwork for the Boy Braille logo has been supplied by Julie’s artist husband Ron Esplin with the graphics work completed by a young designer employed through Student Job Search.