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Hello. How are You?

Welcome to ‘We Ask These Questions of Everybody’, a digital opera.

The opera is 52 minutes long. We recommend using headphones, though you can play it through speakers if you prefer.

It is an audio piece, and if you want to you can just listen. If you watch, you will see creative captions on your screen. These are like subtitles, but animated and more interesting. They were made by visual artist Laura Spark. You can watch if you want to, whether you need them or not.

The words you will hear sung are taken from one woman’s real assessment for PIP, a disability benefit. You will also hear the real voices of people we interviewed. They have all given us their permission to use their words and voices.

If you’d like to find out more about the project before listening, you can…

Read an interview with Toria & Amble in The Upcoming (8-10 mins)

Listen to Amble on the Sound & Music Podcast (34 mins)

Listen to Amble on ‘Opera in the Time of the Pandemic’ from the Quantization Podcast, (69 mins, transcript available)

If you have questions or you’d like to get in touch you can email or find us on twitter @WeAreHera (use the hashtag #QuestionsOfEverybody).

Please click on the headings to see details.

Benefits Assessments/DWP

A lot of the opera is taken from the transcript of an assessment for Personal Independence Payment. This can be a difficult subject, particularly if you have experience of benefits applications.

Please don’t let us put you off applying for benefits to which you’re entitled. Here are two places to look for independent support with the process:

Please note that ‘Hannah’ (the real woman whose story this opera tells) was ultimately successful in claiming PIP after an appeal.

Ableism, anti-disabled hate

Details: Some mentions throughout. A strong focus on this theme from 32 to 42 minutes. 1 use of a strong ableist slur at 34 minutes.

Chronic pain

Details: Some mentions throughout. No long, sustained description of pain. Acute or extreme pain is not enacted or performed in the opera.

Death, mortality

Details: A thematic focus from 32 to 42 minutes. Multiple mentions of death. No graphic description.

Mention of suicide

Details: Suicide is mentioned 3 times between 34 and 38 minutes. No specific methods are mentioned. No descriptive detail.


Details: Multiple uses of ‘shit’ and ‘fuck’

We think that the opera is suitable for ages 15+, but this is a matter of judgment. Please use this page to help you.

If you would like more information about the content of the show before listening please email any questions to

Music by Amble Skuse

Words by Toria Banks

Lynn - Victoria Oruwari

Hannah - Steph West

Sampler, Speaking Voice - Clarence Adoo MBE

Clarinet - Sonia Allori

Electronics - Amble Skuse

Harp - Steph West



Ricky Buchanan

Professor Fiona A Kumari Campbell

Laura Cantliff

Cat Dafydd

Miro Griffiths

Daisy Mai Higman

Sophie Meekings

Clare Johnston

F R Kesby

Ben Lunn

Nabil Shaban

Vickery Stamp

Simon Startin (Artistic Director of Vital Xposure)

Sheri Wells-Jensen

Libby Welsh

Steph West

Director - Toria Banks

Creative Captioner - Laura Spark

Design Intern - Libby Welsh

Web Developer - Dylan Howells

Digital Producer - Joe Strickland

Marketing Design - Nat Henderson

Personal Assistants & Tech Support to Ms Oruwari - Dina Rider & Sandra-Mae Lux

Rehearsal Live Captioning & Audio Description - Eluned Charnley & Karen Pritchard

This opera is dedicated to the memory of the composer Lucy Hale (1994-2021) and to all the lives lost to UK government policy in the pandemic and before.

Thanks to:

‘Hannah’, who let us use her story, her words, and her transcript.

All of the interviewees who spoke to us, and who allowed us to use their words.

Everyone who sent us their thoughts on disabled community in the run up to the premiere.

Antti Saario

Roberta Mock

Simone and Linda for everything.

Hannah and Jack, for providing a calm sonic space for Steph to work in.

Sound and Music

Sound Festival, Creative Scotland, Ignite Ticket Fund, Help Musicians & Ally and Freddie at Mahogany Opera for supporting this project.