About Jess Thom
Writer, artist and part-time superhero, Jess Thom co-founded Touretteshero in 2010 as a creative response to her experience of living with Tourettes Syndrome.
Jess has written in the mainstream and disability press including The Guardian, The Observer and Disability Now. In 2012 she published Welcome to Biscuit Land – A Year In the Life of Touretteshero, with a foreword by Stephen Fry.
Jess is a regular performer at Glastonbury, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, DaDaFest, Unlimited Festival and Shambala. She made Broadcast from Biscuit Land as part of On Stage: Live from Television Centre for BBC4 in 2015. In 2018 her one-hour film Me, My Mouth and I was broadcast on BBC2 and went on to be screened in the USA, Russia, Chile, Switzerland and Canada.
In 2016 Jess took her award-winning stage show Backstage in Biscuit Land on an extensive national and international tour including the USA and Australia. In the same year she received a Wellcome Engagement Fellowship, became an Arts Council England Change Maker and received an honorary degree from the University of Wolverhampton.
In 2017 Touretteshero hosted Adventures in Biscuit Land at Tate Modern as part of their Tate Exchange programme, and curated Brewing in the Basement at the Barbican Centre. She also débuted her critically acclaimed performance of Samuel Beckett’s short play Not I. In 2020 Jess took Not I to New York City as part of the Public Theater’s prestigious Under The Radar Festival where it received a glowing review in the New York Times.
In 2018 Jess took her stand-up show Stand Up, Sit Down, Roll Over to the USA and Europe, hosted Heroes of the Imagination at the Southbank’s Imagine Festival, and Brewing in Battersea at Battersea Arts Centre. The year ended with Hacks for the Future, a residential theatre project for disabled young creatives in the Highlands in association with National Theatre Scotland.
In 2019, Touretteshero received Elevate funding from Arts Council England, a programme which aims to strengthen the resilience of diverse arts organisations. Jess deepened her advocacy work and hosted several facilitated conversations around access for senior managers or organisations such as the Barbican and Shakespeare’s Globe.
During the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown, Jess devised and delivered Digital Heroes of the Imagination with the National Youth Theatre and created a Pandemic Postcard for the Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto.
Jess has spoken widely in the media about her life with Tourettes, including on Woman’s Hour, This Morning, and Russell Howard's Good News. She has given a TEDx talk at the Royal Albert Hall and features in the Annalisa is Awkward documentary on BBC Radio4.
Jess is a visual, performing, and participatory artist based in London. She graduated from The Royal College of Art in 2005. She campaigns for disability rights and social justice and is on a mission to change the world ‘one tic at a time.’