Tender Buttons on Sound & Guts

Rehearsal shot

Tender Buttons’ shows usually start with a question. A question that we think is important and which we want to try to answer. The question helps us, and the people we work with, to discuss things that are difficult to talk about. And the conversations we have result in a play.

In a nutshell, that is how Tender Buttons works.

So in the run up to Sounds & Guts being performed at Live Theatre on Friday 3 October I wanted I’d tell you a bit about the questions we asked and the answers we found.

Sounds & Guts is an attempt to talk about loneliness, to try to express what this feeling is for different people, and explore the reasons why we feel it.

In a way Sounds & Guts asks “what is loneliness?”

Over the last year we’ve learned that it takes guts to talk about loneliness. However, with 31% of the UK’s population living alone, it’s something that a lot of us have experienced. Not that you have to be alone to be lonely… (that’s another thing we learnt)

The most important bits of the conversations we have had about loneliness seemed to be all the bits when people said “erm…” “hmmm…” “no, that’s not quite it…”, or just sat in silence trying to find the words. So Sounds & Guts is a show that hopefully conveys the difficulty of talking about and defining loneliness, a show that collects up all the silences that belong to loneliness and asks you to listen carefully to the noise between the lines.

The attempt to try to define loneliness, as well as the difficulty of talking about it, has also informed how Tim Shaw created the sound for the play and Taryn Edmonds made the set and visuals. Tim and Taryn are both really exciting artists from Newcastle who have superhero artist skills. Working with Tender Buttons they have created a beautiful, delicate and immersive environment in which we (and you) can think about loneliness.

Sounds & Guts is our first touring show, and we’re really excited to be bringing it to Live Theatre on Friday 3 October.

We’ve had some lovely responses from audiences in Hexham who described the show as “captivating” and a “beautiful and honest story”. We hope you will like it too!

Tess Denman-Cleaver
Tender Buttons


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