Developed by community arts activist, Anna Deveare-Smith and Mark Wing Davey in the USA in the 90's, headphone verbatim was taught to me by artist Louise Wallinger who worked with Mark Wing Davey on his return from USA in his verbatim workshop Drama without paper.
In headphone the long form interview is used to collect unique and distinctive personal stories. Once interviews have been completed, the chronological edit looks for the "real" story in the interview: the subtext if you like. Artists then perform edited interviews whilst listening to them at the same time through headphones: hence "headphone verbatim".
This technique allows every breath, every utterance, every idiosyncratic detail of the speaker to be captured by the performer and the result is often a series of poignant, unpredictable, tender, funny and honest testimonies. Intracultural at its heart, it is an opportunity to reject the notion of stereotype and engage with the nuance and distinctive complexity of each and every personal story.