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Fuel Theatre present 'Waiting... to be born' by Lewis Gibson in collaboration with Debra Bick and Sarah Beake


Lewis Gibson biog
Lewis Gibson is a theatre maker and sound artist. Through his work, he attempts to reposition the familiar, allowing alternative narratives to appear.

Lewis has presented installations, audio trails and sonic art commissions for galleries, museums and arts festivals including the V&A, Tate Britain, Greenwich and Docklands Festival, South London Gallery, ICA, Shunt Lounge, The New Zealand Fringe Festival and the Museum of London.

As an associate artist with Uninvited Guests, composer and founding member of the Arab/Anglo Company SABAB, and director and composer for Tangere Arts, he has performed his work to diverse audiences, from students in a record shop in Tokyo and children in village schools in Cornwall, to the Assads in the National Opera House, Damascus. His other theatre collaborations include The Young Vic, The Unicorn Theatre, Jane Packman Company, Nigel + Louise and Graeae.

Of his podcast Lewis writes:
When I first heard of the 'waiting' brief for this series of podcasts, I was transported back to the birth of my second child, Ottilie, which occurred in a paddling pool, in our living room in Peckham. I remember very clearly trying to imagine what Ottilie (she wasn't called that then of course) was thinking and I felt rather sorry that her perfect sealed world of comfort and freedom without responsibilities was about to be so rudely spilled out.

Through conversations with Debra Bick and Sarah Beake, both very experienced senior midwives, I learnt about what they call 'watchful waiting'. This is the attitude taken during a birth and involves keeping a highly active eye and ear on the mother, ready to intervene at a moment's notice, whilst engendering a calm and controlled atmosphere. We also talked about the challenges their practice faces in an increasingly medicalised environment.

We recorded these conversations and they constitute a fascinating document in themselves. I have included a very small amount of them in this podcast.

You will also hear moments from the actual birth of Ottilie. This was recorded with an underwater microphone. The other voice is that of the wonderful actress Janet Henfrey.

This process has shown to me how the midwifery practice manages to straddle both academic and emotional requirements, using equal measures of intuition and learnt discipline. This knowledge is gathered over time, through experience and sharing and is vital to all of our beginnings.