gobscure on tour

Published: 3 September 2021
Reporter: Peter Lathan

provoked 2 madness by the brutality of wealth

North East company gobscure takes its latest production, provoked 2 madness by the brutality of wealth, on a national tour. It’s a play about writer and performer sean burn’s lived experience.

Why lower case letters? Why no capitals? Let him explain in his own words:

“age ten the local bishop wz due to visit our (non-religious) state school. wall ov multicoloured sugar paper gets pinned up – our rectangle wz dead-centre. all had to write a page describing the sandal-wearing god – fair-haired, blue-eyed, cleanfrocked. told teacher we’d write another essay but after all we'd been thru we couldn’t describe god as they werent real. got armtwist-detained each & every break / & after school as that god-wall filled, our central rectangle still bare, punishments worsening.

“us cracked day before visit, pinning up essay - tho ending on god is made up, story, fairytale. bishop exploded reading ours - specifically cos we'd spelt god lowercase - & so got beaten with metre-stick. aint god lowercase same as flower / dog / car? specific dog / flower / car needed capital but 'god' wz category only. we've been lowercase ever since.”

provoked 2 madness by the brutality of wealth is not only a piece of theatre but also sean burn’s lived experience of mental health problems, being sectioned and homelessness. Its genesis was one significant incident.

“in a hostel after our worst sectioning a 'support worker' refused to help, saying 'what dya need books for yr homeless?'. this shows our revenge. thirteen years of reading, graduating from the open university in 2016.”

This highly visual performance is one step in his drive to regain his voice, ask questions and, most of all, “rewrite the future.”

“come love&rage with us on this national tour” is his request.

He is an artistic associate of the Museum of Homelessness and disability arts online. Film commissions include Northern Broadsides and Graeae; he has won two Sound&Music awards, a sound-walk commission from the Auxiliary Teesside; he has created music theatre for GIFT festival and Sage Gateshead; is a Moniack Mhor literary fellow – Scotland’s new writing centre; he is a Society of Authors award winner; was on a writer's attachment at Royal Court and part of Graeae's beyond talent development programme. His collector of tears was BTG NE's play of the year in 2014 while joey was experiment of the year in 2019. His most recent production was rose carved in rain for the Newcastle Fringe Festival at Alphabetti Theatre in July of this year.

provoked 2 madness by the brutality of wealth tour dates: