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Imagined Touch

Image of three people with headphones looking into a bright light

Welcome to the Barbican and this immersive installation, Imagined Touch, presented in partnership with our longstanding colleagues Pacitti Company as part of SPILL Festival of Performance, an international festival of contemporary arts and activism presenting the work of exceptional artists from around the globe. This year’s cutting-edge festival has just finished in Ipswich, and we’re thrilled to have them back at the Barbican. This innovative show, which uses tactile communication, audio-description, British Sign Language and subtitles, is a Barbican debut for the Australian creative team, director Jodee Mundy and collaborators Heather Lawson and Michelle Stevens. We’re sure that Imagined Touch, which is part of our 2018 season The Art of Change, exploring how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape, will take you on a sensory journey like no other.
Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre

Our team are thrilled to be presenting Imagined Touch at the Barbican Centre in London in partnership with SPILL Festival of Performance. Around the world, the tactile sign languages and culture of deafblind people are hidden, unknown and highly marginalised. For our team to have the opportunity to share deafblind tactile sign language and its culture with audiences in London is huge. The Barbican offers a platform presenting the world’s most cutting-edge artistic experiences and we are so proud our art, culture and language is being honoured. Our wildest dreams are coming true. 
Jodee Mundy

SPILL Festival’s longstanding relationship with the Barbican continues to present genre-defying projects from around the world and Imagined Touch is no exception. I am delighted that audiences here in Europe can experience this powerful Australian performance, foregrounding the art and lives of deafblind artists. Jodee Mundy Collaborations are signposting an ethical and inclusive future for all – take a chance on them and this work will reward you meaningfully.     
Robert Pacitti, SPILL Festival Artistic Director

Creative team

Jodee Mundy Artistic Director  
Heather Lawson Artist, Collaborator & Consultant
Michelle Stevens Artist, Collaborator & Consultant
Jenny Hector Set, Lighting & Visual Design
Madeleine Flynn, Tim Humphrey Composition & Sound Design
Tom Chapman Director of Photography  
Erin Milne
Taran Ablitt Technical Manager
Erin Milne Producer, Bureau of Works
Marie Hunter, Mark Sandon Interpreters
Amber Richardson Access Coordinator

Tactile Guides
Heather Lawson, Michelle Stevens, Sally McNeill, Fifi Garfield, Vilma Jackson, Benjamin Gorman, Deepa Shastri, Christopher Sacre, Jenny Myatt, Martin Glover, Erin Siobhanh

Presented by the Barbican in partnership with Pacitti Company

Important information for your visit

  • Please arrive promptly. Latecomers will not be admitted, but we will endeavour – where possible -  to fit you into the next available time slot
  • No food or drink will be allowed in the space
  • All coats, bags and items must be left at the free cloakroom available in level -2 foyer before the performance. Due to the nature of the installation, shoes will also need to be removed before entering. Although items are left at your own risk, the cloakroom will be supervised at all times
  • This is an immersive guided performance. If you have access requirements and have not already mentioned these as part of your booking process, please contact the box office on 020 7638 8891
  • There are elements in this performance which some might find claustrophobic
  • There are gender neutral and wheelchair accessible toilets in the level -2 foyer
  • What to expect: (spoiler alert) Greeted by tactile sign guides you will watch deafblind performers introduce their world through a film. The tactile guides will give you headphones and goggles and guide you into an unseen space. With 360˚ projection, expect to lose your depth of field, seeing only a blur of white and black. You will be feeling textures underfoot, running hands upon faceless silhouettes, hearing a distortion of sounds. You will receive tactile sign, social haptic communication and touch choreography.

Reaching beyond Deafblindness

Imagined Touch asks audiences to explore their own senses, their relationship to the world and to others. 

For our artistic team, working with the deafblind community pushes the boundaries of artistic practice, giving an insight into where these questions can lead in the future.

One of the cool things about creative inclusion is that our artistic team at Jodee Mundy Collaborations explore how one artwork can be experienced in alternative ways for audiences who have a diverse set of senses and abilities. Beyond all ‘limits’ or ‘disability’, if one can communicate, one will find a way. It’s an extraordinary human capacity to communicate one idea in multiple ways, but one we do not often exploit in performance.

This work goes beyond deafblindness, beyond disability. Deafblind performers Heather and Michelle offer audiences a key to unlock how we view the other and ourselves.


Jodee Mundy started Jodee Mundy Collaborations in 2012 after realising the need for a company reflecting the truth unearthed through her practice. Her innate ability to bring together a wide cross-section of people is no accident: she has been practising all of her life. Jodee Mundy is fluent in Auslan and tactile communication because everyone in her family is deaf except for her. Auslan is Jodee’s native language. After twenty years of theatre-making in diverse communities and sign language interpreting around the globe, she has a method of creative practice that takes into account the power balances of all parties involved, the voices and lack of voices of all stakeholders and asks: how can we do it? And not just why.

Heather Lawson and Michelle Stevens are both collaborators and performers in Imagined Touch. They were both in the 2005 project Source/Sauce by Round Angle Theatre, receiving multiple awards at the 2006 Melbourne Fringe Festival: The Visionary Award, The Go Full Tilt Award and The Melbourne International Arts Festival Award. They both feature in Round Angle’s second project In the Dark, performing with Jodee Mundy. Heather Lawson, an emerging performer, won in the DeafBlind’s Got Talent contest, performing her solo act, Golfie, a white cane puppet. Michelle Stevens, a pianist, sat her Australian Music Examination Board AMED Piano for Leisure Eighth Grade, and is studying a Diploma of Music at Melbourne Polytechnic.

Jenny Hector’s lighting and set designs are driven by her collaborations and the space they find themselves in, crossing disciplines and investigating form.

Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey are artists working in music and sound. Their award-winning practice is driven by a curiosity and questioning about listening in human culture, and in particular, the dynamics and possibilities of sonic artistic form as they respond to different sites and architectures, both human and natural.

Jodee Mundy Collaborations
Jodee Mundy Collaborations is an independent creative producing company formed in 2012, in response to the multiple collaborations and partnerships established and continuing to develop with artists, diverse communities, organisations and funders. The company is committed to producing high-quality theatre works, public events, installations and artistic interventions, bringing together diverse cross-sections of the community who may not regularly encounter one another.

The company’s artistic aim is for audiences to witness works that challenge and inspire them to acknowledge the value of live performance and communities, and the ability of art to redefine and skew the notions of inclusiveness. Jodee Mundy Collaborations work points to a future beyond inclusion, where diversity is inherently valuable to the art. Rather than a point of difference, it is a point of commonality.

SPILL Festival

SPILL is an adventurous international festival of contemporary arts, lovingly crafted in Ipswich.

Alice Sandon Participation Producer
Bron Belcher International Placement
Andy Brumwell Executive Director
James Gorry Marketing Manager
Jo Leverett PR Manager
Jodie Worton General Manager
Justin Hopper Development Consultant
Kate Bradshaw Senior Producer (currently on Maternity leave)
Kate Wilson Development and Communications Assistant
Lauren Church Senior Producer (Maternity cover)
Martha Loader Administration Assistant
Robert Pacitti Artistic Director and Curator
Gill Graham, Hugh Whittall, Martel Ollerenshaw, Robyn Durie, Season Butler, Shabnam Shabazi, Yannick Marzin  Pacitti Company Trustees

SPILL Festival is produced in-house as an initiative of Pacitti Company

Part of The Art of Change

Our 2018 season explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

With thanks

Spill logo
Pacitti Company logo

Supported by Able Australia, Arts Access Victoria, Australia Council, Pratt Foundation, City of Melbourne

The Pit