In 2009 Emma’s Dad died. Days later she found out he’d had a child with a woman he abandoned heartbroken and pregnant in the 1950’s. The revelation sends her on a round-the-world trip, starting at Aberystwyth, the coastal Welsh town where he’d conducted the relationship and where Emma spent 3 years as a drama student. In a quest to make peace with her father and her own history Emma follows on his footsteps, discovering their Jewish heritage in Europe, his film-star dreams in the Far East, and finishing in the place she was born – Toronto. Part travelogue, part autobiographical myth-making, Emma uses her trademark poetic writing and multi-media to express an impossible search for truth.
Beyond Dreams of Aberystwyth is one of Emma’s major creative projects.
The Online Book is the story told in prose. It is based on the travel blog Emma wrote when travelling the world the year after her father’s death in 2010. Emma is continuing to develop and extend this writing, with the aim of turning it into a ‘real’ book that can go alongside the show, and is seeking a publisher. It can be read in full with images as 20 Chapters on this website, the story of a unique world trip. From searching for Jewish roots in Romania, the rainforests of Malaysia, martinis with a childhood friend at Chrissie Hynde’s vegan restaurant in Ohio, and back to Aberystwyth.
Alongside the Show Emma offers a Beyond Dreams Life-Writing Workshop designed to encourage participants to have the confidence to tell their story, using life-writing, story-sharing and objects. See Teaching for details of this and other workshops and classes that Emma runs.
Emma was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Midweek programme in June 2013, talking about the whole Beyond Dreams of Aberystwyth journey and project.
Participation in the She Festival Leeds-Israel 2013
Feedback & Reviews of the Show
Media Articles and interviews about the project
BBC Radio 4’s Midweek Listen again to Emma’s interview
Venue Show Pack Read or download here
Beyond Dreams of Aberystwyth Venue Pack .compressed
‘Emma Decent is a writer and performer with the rare quality of captivating her audience and never letting them go, her work haunting the emotions and the imagination long after the performance has finished. She wowed our live audience at Soup on both occasions she performed for us, bringing us all subtly and irrevocably into her genuinely human poetic work. Her fledgling multi-media piece ‘Beyond Dreams of Aberystwyth’ was deeply evocative, weaving poetic responses to her journey in search of her father through the audience which continued to reverberate through the soul for a long time afterwards. Subtle, powerful, literary magic.’
J.A. Brunning, Lancashire Writing Hub
‘A fascinating blog.’