Gay ‘Shame Chorus’ set their own psychotherapy sessions to music

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A groundbreaking new arts project will see London Gay Men’s Chorus set their psychotherapy sessions to music.

Titled the ‘Shame Chorus’, the art project is the brainchild of artist Jordan McKenzie, and explores issues of sexuality, isolation, self-doubt and shame.

Working in collaboration with the Freud Museum in London, psychoanalyst Susie Orbach and the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the artist worked with composers to create music based on anonymised psychoanalytic interview material from the choir’s own therapy sessions.

McKenzie explained: “I wanted to make something positive and uplifting out of the negative experiences that the LGBTQ community across the country had faced in reaction to coming out.

“This is the transformative power of art – it helps us to question, make sense of things and communicate – and what better way to overcome shame than through loud and powerful song.”

Susie Orbach and Sally Berry conducted the series of Freudian psychoanalytic interviews with members of the London Gay Men’s Chorus, asking them to recall memories of feeling shamed – events that may have in part shaped their feelings about themselves and their sexuality.

Composers involved in creating the music include Billy Bragg, Leo Chadburn, Shane Cullinan, Jessica Curry, Edmund Jolliffe, David McAlmont, Conor Mitchell, Sarah Morrison, Steven Smith, Verity Susman, Benjamin Till, and Jack White.

The project received a Research & Development grant from Arts Council England.

Shame Chorus will premiere on 8 October 2016 at the London Irish Centre in Camden, London.