Zen, Drugs ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll (ZDRR) showcases a ground-breaking 4D audio-visual stage creation, including: live performances of new music, original spoken word poetry, bespoke soundscapes and immersive multi-media VJ projections by world renowned songwriter and vocalist, Sarah Jay Hawley.
Generously funded by the Arts Council England, ZDRR sensory integrated musical theatre examines the healing power of the arts. It is a new, exciting direction for Sarah Jay.
ZDRR will be live streamed from Sheffield, UK to connect Sarah Jay's diverse audience as the first part of an ambitious digital arts and wellness programme.
Following a life-changing stroke and cancer surgery in 2016/17, Sarah Jay is now neuro-diverse and has spent the last four years in recovery. This project marks her re-emergence as a creative force focussing on healing as a creative activity, and creativity as a healing process.
ZDRR is a modern opera, based on Sarah Jay’s life as a global performer and her subsequent stroke, cancer and recovery. Sarah Jay wants to reach a broad, international audience: men, women and non-binary of any age, but particularly those who are neuro-diverse and/or affected by trauma.
Those specifically targeted include:
– Stroke, cancer and brain injury survivors
– ADD, ADHD and PTSD sufferers
This exciting collaborative project repositions Sarah Jay as a multi-platform artist, drawing on her lived experience to explore creative wellness through a modern operatic conceit.
Using her life as the basis of the story, Sarah Jay has composed music to express the traumatic experiences of stroke and cancer survival, alongside moving bespoke written prose and spoken word poetry.
World class partners and press interest underlines the appetite for this relaunch of Sarah Jay’s work.
As an experienced musician, Sarah Jay is familiar with artistic collaboration – but working with VJs, filmmakers, web designers and graphic designers has greatly developed Sarah Jay’s visual performance aesthetic, multi-media platform and project profile.
These new delivery mechanisms better express Sarah Jay’s artistic intentions, and build on her extraordinary talents and existing global profile.
Live stream dates to be announced shortly!
The story behind Sarah Jay Hawley’s forthcoming 4D sensory integrated gig theatre performance:
“Zen, Drugs ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll”
In 2015, Sarah Jay woke in the middle of the night with pins and needles shooting through the right side of her body, face and brain. She had also lost her vision. After days of trying to get an answer from her doctor, Sarah Jay was eventually sent to hospital where she was given the devastating news, she’d had a stroke.
“One of the first things I did when I finally got home was sit at my piano and play a chord. When you lose one of your senses, your other senses get stronger. I could see music as colour. It felt like I could see the vibrations as patterns and swirls. It was just beautiful and a first glimmer of hope for me and my recovery. I knew music would once again save me.”
- Sarah Jay Hawley
Sarah Jay’s stroke had not only affected her vision, but also her memory, her balance and her ability to read.
“I could read individual words slowly but couldn’t piece them together. As a musician and writer I was adamant there was no way I was going to lose that part of my life, so I decided to stubbornly ignore the doctors who told me I may never recover the ability to read.
“One night I woke up with a song I’d written years before going round my head. I could recall where I was when I wrote it so vividly. I had an idea to write the stories about the situations that caused me to write the songs I’d written. It was like following a trail of breadcrumbs back to my memory and experiences. It was a very personal and cathartic project that gave me a reason to try to get up in the morning when I was very depressed as my life had been devastated.
- Sarah Jay Hawley
"Over the last five years this has developed into my Gig Theatre performance “Zen, Drugs 'n' Rock 'n' Roll”, which has been an amazing journey. The show is a memoir in music, interwoven with spoken word, sound design and visual projections. It is about courage, hope and resilience and the healing power of music and creativity."
Zen, Drugs ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll” is sophisticated English Art Pop drawing on influences from trip hop, electronica, classical and choral music.
It is lyrical song poetry in motion, facing the fallout of addiction, the power of pop, and finding solace in songs.
With sultry, soulful tones that soothe your soul, lick your heart and light up your brain, Sarah Jay gets confessional and tells it how it is.