Theatre by the Lake mark Tourette’s Awareness Day by turning green
Theatre by the Lake will be joining businesses around the country by lighting up their building in green for Tourette’s Awareness Day on 7 June. The leading Tourette’s Syndrome charity, Tourettes Action, has launched two campaigns for this year’s Tourette’s Awareness Month, which runs from 15 May to 15 June, in a bid to increase awareness and remove stigma about the much-misunderstood condition. Theatre by the Lake will be taking part in #TurnItGreen, which is about turning as many landmarks as possible green in the hope that they can highlight the condition and get people talking.
Tourettes Action are also running #ItsWhatMakesMeTic, which promotes bringing the Tourette’s community together and educating the public on what the condition is, how it impacts lives and how to behave towards those living with Tourette’s. Theatre by the Lake will open with //Tuning In//, a co-production with Miles-Wildin and Ng and Graeae, on Tourette’s Awareness Day, and is a one-man tour-de-force exploring disability prejudice.
Adam Fenton, //Tuning In// writer and performer says: “‘Performing this show during Tourette’s Awareness Month is super important in expressing the depth and complexity of a commonly misunderstood disability. Tourettes is more than just tics, it is an all encompassing condition that effects the way that we see the world and the world sees us. My aims with this show is to make us re-examine those perceptions of tourettic people, and see what really makes them tic(k).”
Liz Stevenson, Artistic Director of Theatre by the Lake, commented, “TBTL is committed to being an accessible and welcoming place for our entire community to visit, and we are dedicated to supporting new writing and working with deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists. We’re delighted to be partnering with Graeae and Miles-Wildin and Ng who are a force for change in theatre, placing Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists centre stage. Having supported its development in 2021, we’re thrilled to be co-producing //Tuning In//, which is about challenges our perceptions of what is ‘normal’.”
Tourette’s Syndrome is still very misunderstood and when asked, most members of the public will think that it is a rare behavioural condition, whereby everyone with the condition swears. All of which are in fact, false statements. Tourette’s is quite a common condition, affecting 1 in 100 school aged children, giving it a similar prevalence to Autism and childhood epilepsy. Coprolalia (involuntary swearing or profane outbursts) affects only about 10% – 20% of people with Tourette’s. Coprolalia is in fact not a criteria for diagnosis. For a Tourette’s Syndrome diagnosis, a person needs to have at least one vocal tic and multiple motor tics and then need to have had tics for over 1 year.
The misunderstanding around swearing often brings with it a stigma and makes people with the condition feel isolated. Emma McNally, CEO of Tourettes Action, says: “It’s shocking that a condition so prevalent is still so badly misunderstood. More than 300,000 people in the UK are known to have Tourette’s. Research tells us that many people will experience discrimination because of their Tourette’s and 75% of people will actively conceal their condition for fear of discrimination. People with Tourette’s often feel isolated and excluded because the level of awareness in society is so low. It’s our goal to change that. We want to use Tourette’s Awareness Month to help raise awareness of the condition, to stop the stigma and enable people who live with Tourette’s to be fully included in society.
“Tourettes Action are making an impact on how society views Tourette Syndrome. By having individuals share their stories as part of our TikTok #ItWhatMakesMeTic campaign, we can help to destigmatise the condition and put a spotlight on what it really means for people living with Tourette’s every day. And through our #TurnItGreen campaign we hope to start conversations. We believe that through candid conversations, we can make vital progress in bringing assurance and hope to our community while changing public attitudes towards this misunderstood condition.”
For more info check out Tourette’s Action TikTok channel www.tiktok.com/@tourettes_action
To find out more about //Tuning In//, visit the event page here.