Cast List

  • Younger Jacques – (Spring) Mark Scales
  • Younger Jacques – (Autumn) James Wooldridge
  • (Older) Jacques – John Wilson Goddard
  • Major – (Spring) Gerard McDermott
  • Major – (Autumn) Liam O'Carroll
  • Jean/Denis – (Spring) Paul Coldrick
  • Jean/Denis – (Autumn) Ollie Campbell-Smith
  • Professor/Phillipe – (Spring) Iain Charles
  • Professor/Phillipe – (Autumn) Simon Yadoo
  • Francoise/Eliot – (Spring) James O'Driscoll
  • Francoise/Eliot – (Autumn) Simon Philips

Production Team

  • Writer/Producer – Maria Oshodi
  • Director/Script Consultant – Eileen Dillon
  • Choreographer – Aidan Treays
  • Composer – Adrian Lee
  • Set Design – Andrea Carr
  • Lighting Design – Phil Supple
  • Costume Design -Tina Bicat
  • Production Manager – Alison King (Turtle Key Arts)
  • Stage Manager – (Spring) Jo Holt
  • Stage Manager – (Autumn) Rachel Williams)
  • Technical Manager – (Spring) Justin Farndale
  • Technical Manager – (Autumn) Shaun Dawson
  • Company Manager/Access Worker – Brian Sandford
  • Set Builders – Neil Robson
  • Marketing/Press – Shaun Dawson (Turtle Key Arts)
  • Production Assistant – Olly Price (Turtle Key Arts)
  • Voice Coach – Ollie Campbell Smith
  • BSL Interpreter – Jeni Draper
  • Graphic Design – Topright
  • Production Photography – Nik Mackey
  • Video Production – Alan Bowyer
  • Assistant Co-ordinators and Outreach Support – Damien O'Connor (Extant)
  • Assistant Co-ordinators and Outreach Support – June Bretherton and David Whitehead (JBC)
  • Tour Booking & Project Management (Turtle Key Arts)
  • Consultancy Group – Sally Boothe, Lynn Cox, James Lewis, Brad Fisher

Running Time 90 minutes (No interval)

This production was made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England, Lloyds TSB Foundation, RNIB, MacKintosh Foundation

Special Thanks: Sue Rolf and The Theatre Museum, Peter Brook, Peter Bosher, Joanne Brendon, Wayne Chapman, Angels Costumiers, Charlotte Cunningham, No. 1 Practical Car Rental, Zippo UK, Mary & all the staff at CYTO, Sarah Wickens, Emma Beaumont/Adam Ockenfield (RNIB)

Maria Oshodi

Dear Audience,

I read Jacques Lusseyran's autobiography 'And There Was Light', about five years ago, and like most people who have read it I imagine, could not fail to be deeply moved by the discoveries, wisdom and story recounted in it. At it's heart, it spoke to me of one individual's profound transformative experience of awareness, brought about in this particular case through blindness, but which everyone, through their attention, could have an opening to. I especially admired the way that Jacques Lusseyran was able to connect his exposure with a greater universal reality, to taking conclusive action against injustice in the world of his time.

“Our fate is shaped from within ourselves, never from without inward.”

A couple of years before reading his works, I had founded Extant, the first performing arts company of visually impaired people. We had researched the challenge of physical performance for visually impaired actors, and new methods of integrating within our performance, audience access to the dominant visual language of theatre. It therefore felt organic and appropriate to base our first national tour on the inspirational story of Jacques Lusseyran, who validates a shift in perspective through blindness, and generously offers the first twenty years of his life as an “open book to anyone who cares to read it.”

“Our experiences, especially inner ones depend on language, which is a collective tool, a tool of the majority, thus the words the blind use are the words of the seeing. We have borrowed them all… Rarely, very rarely do we present ourselves as blind and willing to carry out our functions as blind persons. I believe that blindness has the task of reminding us that the despotism of one sense, sight, is unjust, and of cautioning us against the form of perception prevalent today.”

It has been with a sense of privilege and integrity that I have approached creating this play from the true autobiographical account. My intention was always to keep, as much as possible within my adaptation, an authentic interpretation of Jacques Lusseyran's voice, character and motivation, as I have understood them from my study of the translated text and his other writings. However, the book is not a play, so my job has also been to retain the essence of the main story in the book, and make this work for the stage as a piece of drama in its own right.

To give the play a sense of dramatic focus, I identified one key episode in Jacques Lusseyran's story, which I felt could act as a pivot to reveal other significant events that took place for him. The most obvious point of tension that I saw was the short description of the 38 interrogation sessions the Gestapo subjected him to after his capture. Approaching the play from this angle has allowed me to build a vital framework of memory and flashback, onto which I have layered the actual facts of the story. Through this, I have developed a narrative aesthetic of delayed, interrupted, and reverse exposition, which I feel reflects the fractured way that blind people gather fragments about the visual environment, often piecing these together backwards to add to a sense of a whole. If not pointed out here, this aspect might not be immediately obvious in the play, as might not be some of the access features that we have developed within the production for our visually impaired audience. Our company style is to graph in access in subtle and creative ways that offer audio equivalents to visual action and mood. Thus we attempt to create a space where the senses, imagination and live performance are extant.

“From the moment I went blind I didn't enter a world of privation supported by courage and to see heroically what others described to me. I entered a world of enchantment, which supported my life, nourishing me because it was real.”

Originally our production was planned to tour in 2004, but due to funding restrictions, we had to postpone the tour to the spring of 2005. Like other strange synchronicities connected with this project, the shift of schedule has meant that we will now be performing the plays events, in some cases, exactly 60 years to the day after they actually happened. This has added an extra level of poignancy to a production, which has come into being through an enormous team effort from everyone involved, and has felt a true honour to realise. Thank you Jacques Lusseyran.

“Blindness brings my greatest happiness by giving a great opportunity both through the disorder, and order it creates.”

Jacques Lusseyran

Jacques Lusseyran was born on 19 September 1924 in the Montmartre district of Paris. His mother read biology and physics and his father was a chemical engineer. They were both actively involved in the French section of the Anthroposophical society, which follows the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. After the war, Jacques eventually became a university professor in France and the USA. He was killed in a car crash on the way to deliver a paper in Zurich in 1971.

“Let us not forget that the fate of the blind community is the fate of all minority communities. It is of no importance whether these minorities are those of national religious or physical origins; at the very best they are tolerated; they are almost never understood.

When the war ended, I returned to my homeland prepared to finish my studies and choose one of the professions for which I believed myself best qualified, diplomacy or teaching. Today, the absurd law imposed by Vichy in 1942, which barred me as a blind person from entering these professions, no longer exists, but it took 17 years of unending effort after the war ended to abolish it. In those 17 years I discovered the gulf that separates the seeing from those who do not have the light of their eyes. I know that in this respect France showed a narrowness that does not exist in other countries, but the French example remains very meaningful. The seeing do not believe in the blind. Their unjust and stupid doubt directed my actions during all those years. I decided not to fight the law directly, but to offer proof. I wanted to teach, so I taught by force and took it upon myself to teach without guarantees, fixed employment, pension rights and vacation or sickness payments. I offered my services with persevering stubbornness and asked that they only be judged by their value instead of what was believed to be their value. I carried on a long and lonely battle, which undoubtedly was the hardest of my life. It happened that I did eventually become a university professor in spite of my country's feudalistic laws and I have pursued my profession for 24 years without encountering any difficulties except for those connected with the profession itself.

Again the story of my struggle is not my personal story. The struggle is the same one that all blind persons must fight. I am convinced that the time has come to show the world what blindness really is. It is not an infirmity for which the afflicted constantly try to compensate according to their ability. If blindness is regarded as privation, it becomes privation. If we think of blindness as a deficiency that must be compensated for at any price, a path may open, but it will not lead far. If however, we regard blindness as another state of perception, another realm of experience, everything becomes possible.”

All quotes taken from selected writings Jacques Lusseyran

  • 'Against the pollution of the I' Parabola Books 1999 ISBN 0-930407-46-6.
  • 'And There Was Light' ISBN 0863155073 'published in the UK by Floris Books.

Mark Scales

Mark has been visually impaired since the age of Sixteen. Studying at the Royal National College for the Blind, he gained his confidence and independence. It was this that led him to Performance Arts, resulting in a Diploma in Music, Acting and Dance. He studied Dance for two years at the Holborn Performing Arts Cenre, London where he gained a National Diploma and a greater love for performing. He has appeared in a Short film called, “Talk”, alongside Jonathan Kerrigan. Performed with Amici Dance Theatre Company in a production of “Hilda” at the Riverside Studios, London.

Resistance will be Mark's debut professional performance. Playing the part of Young Jacques, Mark said he finds the character complex and intriguing. The play is a challenging and exciting experience which Mark is looking forward to.

John Goddard

John has been registered blind since infancy and totally blind since his mid-teens. He worked first as a teacher, then a braille proof-reader, which was when he developed his interest in the theatre and acting. Following his LRAM in Speech and Drama, his “big break” came with the Graeae Theatre Company's national tour of Noel Greig's Working Hearts in 1986. Subsequent highlights have included Anthony Sher's television play, Changing Step, The Bill, and Oedipus Needs Help, which John commissioned from Jonathon Neale and produced for his own company, Vital Experience, in 1996; also experimental work with Extant.

John believes he has the largest collection of plays in braille in the country. He's also written his own first full-length play.

Gerard McDermott

Gerard trained at The Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Theatre – as a regular member of Northern Broadsides Gerard has toured nationally and internationally in the following productions: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Merry Wives of Windsor, Hubert in King John, and most recently, Father Walter in last autumn's tour of the Victorian melodrama, The Bells. Other theatre includes Marley's Ghost in Christmas Carol at the Vasa Theatre, Stockholm, Sheriff and Minister in the West End production of Whistle Down The Wind, at the Aldwych, Reggie Matchwood in Anyroad, and Paulet in Life Blood, both by Glyn Maxwell at The Bridewell Theatre. Gordon in Neville's Island at the Dukes, Lancaster. Pooh in The House At Pooh Corner for Polka Theatre and The Skipper in The Northern Trawl for Remould Theatre Company.

On screen – Gerard has appeared in The Dead Comic's Society, The Wrong Husband for S4C and Danny in Badger, for the BBC.

Radio – Twice a member of the BBC Radio Drama Company Gerard has now appeared in over one hundred and fifty productions, including His Dark Materials by Philip Pulman, The Old Curiosity Shop, Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, The Way of the World by Congreve and starred in Dave Sheesby's six part serial One Flat Summer and its sequel Sharing Fatman. Gerard plays Brian Kavanagh in the daily soap Silver Street on the BBC Asian Network.

Paul Coldrick

Trained at the Arts Educational School Of Acting, London.

Theatre credits include; Richard III (Chapter House Theatre), Macbeth (Gilded Balloon Theatre), Merchant Of Venice (Millfield Theatre), A Desire To Kill On The Tip Of The Tongue (Brockley Jack Theatre), Bouncers (Brockley Jack Theatre), God Of Vengeance (Camden Peoples Theatre), A Dolls House (Tabard Theatre) Don't Drink The Water (Starting Gate Theatre) and Don Juan Comes Back From The War (Bath Studio Theatre).

TV credits include; Crime Team (Channel 4), Blow Up (Channel 4), Hate Crimes (Channel 4) and Theft & Save (ITV Ulster).

Film credits include; People Like Other People (Raindance Film Festival), The Plonker (Viva! Film Festival) and The Merchant Of Venice (Stage To Screen Productions).

Iain Charles

Iain is a professional visually-impaired actor and entertainer. He left a successful career at the forefront of printing technology to pursue his love of acting and trained “In Rep” at the Birmingham Theatre School graduating in 2001. Iain has extensive performance experience in the theatre (which is where his heart lies) and his favourite roles, besides Shakespeare, include Jean-Paul Marat (Marat Sade), The Inspector (Christie In Love) and Azdak (The Caucasion Chalk Circle). When not performing on stage Iain can be found training blue-chip corporate clients with drama-based training or more often entertaining children (his hardest audience!), playing such character's as the Pink Panther or more recently his very popular (with the children at least!) Mr.Incredible.

James O'Driscoll

I first got in to acting when I was asked to appear in a short independent film called Withered. It was a short film about two friends and how they can be in the same place and time but their thoughts are worlds apart. It was only 6 days filming but that was enough. I loved it! Now I am making my debut on the stage with resistance. A great play with a true storey, that's more important to day as ever. I'm looking forward to going on tour with a great cast who have all brought some thing special to the production of resistance. A great paced physical piece of theatre.

Maria Oshodi

Maria Oshodi graduated 1992 from Middlesex University with a 1st BA honors in Drama and English. Before this her first play was produced as part of the Royal Court Young Writers Festival. She wrote four more stage plays that toured nationally, published by Methuen Longmans and John Murray. She has written a short drama produced by channel 4, and worked in arts development, performed, and founded Extant Arts Company.

From 2000-03 she worked in BBC Drama production, and now is a freelance writer and director of Extant.

Eileen Dillon

Since graduating from Exeter University Drama Dept. in 1992, Eileen has written, devised, adapted and/or directed schools', community and professional performance. Directing includes: The Next Stage, Extant Theatre, Absent Water, Wrights & Sites, The Soil Story Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, Living Portraits & 8 other Living History productions, The National Trust, Heiritha & 3 other Dartmoor community performances, The Wren Trust. Illyria , Devon Youth Theatre. She has also performed & toured Sing Softly after 6pm, & Mary Kelynack's Journey, one woman performances directed by Dorinda Hulton.

Aidan Treays

Aidan trained at Elmhurst Ballet School. He worked as a performer for 10 years in Dance, Musical Theatre and Circus.

As choreographer:

Dance credits include; Devising and Choreographing Enigmotion for Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, music composed by Peter Coyte. A twenty minute dance theatre piece performed at The Duke Theatre, New York.

Theatre credits include; Quest, legend of the Green Knight directed by Charlotte Conquest, Jumpers by Tom Stoppard, directed by David Leveaux at The National Theatre, Piccadilly Theatre and Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway. For Creation Theatre Company; As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Comedy of Errors (Charlotte Conquest), Winters Tale (Justin Butcher) and Romeo and Juliet (Abigail Anderson). Circus Choreography for Hybrid and The Wrong Size. Honk and Secret Garden for Arts Educational.

Film credits include; assistant choreographer on Stay (Iwan McGregor) and Finding Neverland (Jonny Depp) both directed by Marc Forster.

TV credits include; The warehouse for Carlton TV, Laughter and Rain for Guinness (Ringan Ledwidge), One In A Million for the COI, Sweet Pop promo for Lamb and 20 years Pop promo for Placebo.

Adrian Lee

Composer, music director and multi-instrumentalist, Adrian Lee has created many scores for theatre including A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Haroun and the Sea of Stories (RNT) and Othello, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, Tales from Ovid and Love in a Wood for the RSC. As Music Associate of the Young Vic he created music for productions including Grimm Tales, The Jungle Book, Blood Wedding, Twelfth Night and More Grimm Tales. Music for film includes Macbeth for Channel 4/Illuminations and the forthcoming The King Cobra and I for BBC/Icon. Other forthcoming performances include a new production of Alicesongs for the Cardiff International Festival of Music Theatre (April 2005) and the first UK performance of his song-cycle Hakikat Air commissioned by the Malaysian contemporary gamelan ensemble Rhythm in Bronze.

Andrea Carr

To come 100 words approx

Phil Supple

Phil is a designer for a diverse range of performance and events. Recent work includes: SLEEP TIGHT, CATCH YOUR BREATH, and TAKING SHAPE (an interactive exhibition at the Theatre Museum, Covent Garden) all for theatre-rites; STICKY Improbable Theatre's large scale outdoor spectacular; BUSHFIRE (a collaboration between eRTH an Australian performance company and British artists) which toured UK arts festivals in 2002; AS CLOSE AS A BREATH and GOT IT COVERED for IRIE! dance theatre; 20/20 (London and Berlin 2002), TIMESTEP (2003) and GOHA TALES REVISITED (Cairo, 2004) for the Amici Dance Theatre – a wonderful integrated performance company. Phil's other work includes credits as an Associate Lighting Designer on SHOCKHEADED PETER for Cultural Industry and THE PLAY WHAT I WROTE for David Pugh Ltd, and credits as a Production Electrician on shows and projects far too boring to mention. Phil has just become a father for the first time, and is chuffed to bits.

Tina Bicat

Tina Bicat's work with theatre, film, television and carnival includes productions with casts of hundreds, one man shows, costumes devised and made with the actor in rehearsal, puppets, transformations, tricks and special effects as well as more traditional costume designing and making both here and in Spain. She combines freelance design for professional theatre with her work with the drama students at St Mary's College at Strawberry Hill. She is the author of several books on theatre practice and her new book on stage costume will be published this summer.

Tina Bicat's work includes puppets, transformations, tricks and special effects as well as more traditional costume design both here and in Spain. She combines freelance theatre design with working with students at St Mary's College at Strawberry Hill. She is the author of several books on costume and theatre practice.


Formed in 1997, Extant is the first performing arts organisation in the UK, managed for and by blind professional arts practitioners, who seek to promote the arts and culture of the visually impaired community. Our work on a regional, national and international level, aims to push boundaries, be consultative and involve high production values.

Turtle Key Arts

Turtle Key Arts is an arts production company that combines production and technical skills with experienced education and training work. We work with artists, dancers, theatre companies, venues, disability arts organisations and the education sector. Turtle Key aims to ensure that all of the projects we take on include access as a central part of their commitment. We are therefore particularly pleased to be working with Extant again to mount this ground-breaking tour that will challenge audiences and develop the experience of visually impaired theatre.

In the past year Turtle Key has managed national and international tours for Angika Dance Company and Lisa Torun Dance Company as well as administrating the Amici Dance Theatre Company. We have co-run the Turtle Opera for autistic children at the Royal Opera House as well as Key club, a monthly club for young people 16+ with autism and a half term drama project for young blind and visually impaired people as well as many other education projects nationwide. For further information about Turtle Key Arts please contact us on 020 8964 5060 or visit

JBC – London

Provides tailored disability equality training, advises designers, undertakes access audits, based upon the UK DDA 1995. Provides support for all kinds of artistic events, including building supporting installations, designing seminars and organising conferences. June Bretherton started JBC – London in 1988.

It has won several awards for its work and is recognised by many leading authorities. For further information contact [email protected] 020 8521 4325


Evaluation forms are available after all shows in print. We are keen to receive your feedback on the production and encourage you to take a little extra time to complete one of these forms and return it to us as soon as you can. A version of this form can also be completed on line at and returned to us by email. Thank you

Coming next! Autumn tour 2005…

Extant tours US blind performer/writer Lynn Manning, in his production of 'Weights'. This autobiographical one-man show by an African American, uniquely deals with issues of ethnicity, blindness and masculinity in a movingly powerful way.

London, Manchester, Bristol, and Birmingham – November 19-10 Dec – Check the Extant web site for more information nearer the time…

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