REVIEW With Eyes Closed, Company of Sirens by Barbara Hughes-Moore


What can you see with your eyes closed? Do you see darkness, or the imprint of light, or a treasured memory? This new production by Company of Sirens, in collaboration with Sight Life Wales, explores the shores of memory and time, the footprints we leave there and the people with whom we travel it. 

Beautifully directed by Chris Durnall and Angharad Matthews, With Eyes Closed features performers with sight loss telling stories of their their lives, loves and dreams. The piece originates in a series of taster drama workshops through the Llanover Hall Charity which pre-dated and subsequently continued throughout lockdown. The performers are all so natural on the stage that I was stunned to learn this was their first foray into acting. Precision is difficult; making it look natural is almost impossible – and that’s exactly what they achieve.  

This is a theatre piece that moves and breathes like the tide. The stage, transformed into a tranquil shore by Cara Hood’s effective lighting, is the stage for sharing memories, pieces of our lives buoyed by the waves and washed in by the tide. Company of Sirens have always had an innate sense of the ways music and memory intersect, and the music, beautifully played live by Stacey Blythe, is present but not invasive, and it glimmers like sunlight on the ocean. Tales affecting in their simplicity, are told with honesty, joy, and laughter – and, like a wave, the performers often move as one, rising and flowing together as the music shimmers like the sea around them. 

Funded by Arts Council Wales and the National Lottery, each story has been filmed professionally and will be shown in the Wales Millennium Centre as part of their Festival of Voice in November – but there’s something special and distinctly irreplaceable about experiencing this piece live; an honesty, an authenticity and a gentleness to the piece which caught me quite off guard. It calls you to wonder what you see when you close your eyes, the paths you could walk guided by memory alone, and who you walk them with.  

With Eyes Closed is playing at Llanover Hall Arts Centre Cardiff from 27-30 October at 8.00 with an additional performance at 2.00 on Saturday 30th. Tickets are selling out and Friday is already sold out.

2 thoughts on “REVIEW With Eyes Closed, Company of Sirens by Barbara Hughes-Moore”

  1. Thank you so much for your lovely review, it was the first time I have done anything like it in my life, and my nephew Jordan is special needs, and he has really enjoyed doing it, I take my hat off to Chris Durnall and angharad for helping us do this play, they had never worked with visually impaired people before, and had to change a few things to suit us, but we all had some laughs along the way, Chris angharad, Stacey and cara were so acommadating to us, they were amazing and such lovely people, but thank you again for your lovely review, Sharon hale

  2. It has been a privilege to be part of this production with my fwllow Sightife colleagues and friends. Under the skillful and gentle guidance of Directors Chris Durnall and Angharad Mathews, along with the intuitive musician ship and beautiful voice of Stacey Blythe it has been a challenging yet inspiring creative process helping us to bring out the best in ourselves in an unfamiliar and daunting live performance setting. I hope it will be the beginning of an on going collaboration to develop ew ideas and inspiring creative projects that benefit all. Emma J. Lawton.

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