Nye Russell-Thompson: Just A Few Words

Nye Russell-Thompson's "one man show with a stammer" Just A Few Words is here on Wednesday 28 June.

Hi there, why don’t you introduce yourself?

My name’s Nye, I’m 23 years old, and I’m representing my theatre company, StammerMouth.

Nice to meet you! So, what’s the show you’re bringing to Offbeat and what’s it about?

‘Just a Few Words’ follows a young man just trying to express his feelings to someone, which is hard enough as it is, but this man has a severe stammer… So, to help him, he has a massive pile of A3 cards, which give him strategies to subdue it. The cards take on a whole sassy character of their own, turning this one-man show into a comic duologue, and a truthful exploration of what’s like to have a stammer - this is unique in itself, as it’s hard enough to talk about stammering, if you have a stammer!

What kind of person do you think will enjoy this show?

If you have a stammer, or know someone who does, you will totally enjoy this show. If you don’t have a stammer, or know someone who does, however… you will still totally enjoy this show!

The show is a piece of disability theatre, made to be funny, truthful, and fun, with lots of terrible (and therefore brilliant) puns. It is accompanied at Oxford Offbeat with British Sign Language interpretation, for those who are deaf. We have made the show ambitious in this respect, so to explore stammering with the deaf community, some of whom have never experienced a speech impediment, is always fantastic!

Can you sum up the pitch for your show in 6 words?

Try Expressing Yourself With A Stammer 

What’s the background to the show? Why did you make it? What’s the journey been like so far?

I used to have a really bad stammer, and quite simply, I found that drama and theatre really improved my self confidence and over time, my impediment began to disappear.

I devised ‘Just a Few Words’ in 2013 as part of a solo performance module at the University of Chichester, which I wrote and developed to raise awareness of stammering, to explain what it’s like to have a severe stammer beyond the physical “b-b-b” and into the mindset, the anxiety, and its impact on expression. 

I have toured ‘Just a Few Words’ across the country, including Edinburgh Fringe in 2015, where I was nominated for the ‘Emerging Artist’ award from Total Theatre. The standout moment in 2016 was when I performed at Southbank Centre in London, where I discovered that the show has a belonging in the disability arts - thanks to working with Unlimited, a fantastic organisation who provide opportunities for emerging disabled artists, I have come to accept my stammer as a part of me. I also owe a lot to my producer Roxy, a very talented friend of mine from our glorious uni days! She also has her own show at Offbeat - ‘I’m the Hero of This Story’. Do come and see!

What other cool stuff have you done that folks might like to know about?

I have worked with the wonderful British Stammering Association in the past, and they have always been helpful with promoting my show. Like this article I wrote for their magazine, 'Speaking Out' - www.stammering.org/speaking-out/article/just-few-words .

They are a great resource for anyone who needs help or advice when it comes to stammering.

I'd also like to mention something which is on its way - the next show is being written in the background as I type this blog… About something entirely different... Head to stammermouth.co.uk for updates on this.

Are you excited to take this show to Offbeat? Why?

I’m very excited, of course! I get to perform a really fun show with a vital, niche message on stammering to a whole new audience, in a beautiful city, with a fantastic variety of shows and art happening all around me! 

Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to folks in Oxford?

If you have a stammer, or know anyone who does, please come and see this show. Also, if you'd like advice or more info on stammering, head to www.stammering.org . Enjoy the festival!