Front of House Volunteers Needed!!!

The Deaf and Hearing Ensemble are looking for volunteers for their upcoming performance of 'People of the Eye' as part of the NOW'16 Festival at The Yard Theatre. Duties include welcoming audience members, responding to enquiries and giving announcements. Volunteers must hold a minimum of Level Two in British Sign Language and be open and friendly!

Performance dates/times: 7-11th June, 7-11pm. However, you can do as many or as few as you wish. For more information and to apply please contact Emily or Rachael at info@thedeafandhearingensemble.com with a short bio and some information about your interest in the role.

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Press Release - People of the Eye, The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble, The Yard Theatre NOW16 7-11 June

THEATRE (NEW WRITING/DEVISED)

Press Release                                                       

The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble with Erin Siobhan Hutching present

People of the Eye at NOW’16 FESTIVAL The Yard Theatre

7th—11th June 7.30pm, in double bill with Ira Brand Break Yourself at 9pm

A personal story about parents, sisters and the love that binds families together created for Deaf and hearing audiences on an equal basis

(Download hi res images from Flickr:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/130930564@N05/albums/72157667519247620)

Inspired by real events, this poignant new performance uses projections, sound, live performance and creative accessibility (BSL, spoken English and captioning) to tell the story of a family navigating their way through the Deaf world, focusing on memories, feelings of isolation and how we find the joy in difference.

People of the Eye tells the story of writer Erin Siobhan Hutching’s family, who had never met a deaf person before when her sister was diagnosed in 1983. Struggling to get a diagnosis from dubious doctors and then receiving conflicting advice from experts about whether to use sign language, the family had to find their own way through the Deaf world. Erin also drew on the experiences of others in the international Deaf community, particularly other Ensemble members, when writing the show.

Writer/performer Erin Siobhan Hutching, who co-starred in the 2013 UK tour of performance artist La JohnJoseph’s autobiographical “clusterfuck of sex, class, religion, gender, identity and ideology" Boy In A Dress, which inspired her to tell the story of her own unusual background, says:

“I wanted to create a piece which celebrates the beauty of sign language and Deaf culture, while not shying away from the complex idea of culture versus disability. It’s important to me to tell the story of both Deaf and hearing members of the family, and the contributions of the Deaf artists in the Ensemble have been invaluable in that respect. It’s a joyful, fun show, with lots of humour, but it tackles something we are all passionate about. We play with a mix of theatrical conventions including audience participation, physical theatre, direct address and video projections which visually represent sound, always striving to make accessibility part of the aesthetic instead of a tag-on. This is a show everyone can relate to in some way – the themes of childhood memories, sibling relationships and parental responsibility are universal.”

The Yard Theatre, voted #2 Theatre in London by Time Out readers, has chosen this piece out of over 200 hundred applications to perform in a double bill with award-winning theatre maker Ira Brand.

“Selected from hundreds of ideas received through open submissions, we’ve partnered five of the brightest new voices with five of the most inspiring and influential artists of today to form week long double-bills of daring and unapologetically new live performances.” The Yard Theatre

The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble encourage a shared experience for Deaf and hearing audiences. Formed in 2013, they are comprised of talented Deaf & Hearing artists, each with an equal voice. They were founded out of a week-long project with the Royal Shakespeare Company, looking at the relationship between Shakespeare’s language and Visual Vernacular/BSL, and has retained a strong relationship with the company. They were Forest Fringe Company in Residence in 2013 and performed at Forest Fringe and Northern Stage's Bloody Great Border Ballad Project, which won the Spirit of the Festival Award. They have performed at Pulse Festival, Forest Fringe, Shuffle Festival, Northern Stage and The Roundhouse. They were commissioned this year to create a new piece for Liberty Festival. This piece is being taken to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

People of the Eye is directed by Ensemble founder Jennifer K. Bates, who lead Solar Bear Theatre Company’s Deaf Youth Theatre for 4 years exploring this unique way of working and making theatre. Parts of the piece were devised with Ensemble member Sophie Stone, who has recently starred as Cass (a strong Deaf character) in two episodes of the TV series Doctor Who. Emily Howlett, founder of PAD Productions (Positive About Deafness), will perform alongside Erin Siobhan Hutching at The Yard.

Ensemble member Nadia Nadarajah, who was recently nominated for an Off-West End award, will provide support with movement and BSL. Award winning Deaf filmmaker Samuel Dore will be creating the video projections. The set is being designed by Wildworks Associate designer Myriddin Wannell.

People of the Eye is supported by The Yard Theatre and using public funding by Arts Council England.

This piece is accessible to D/deaf and hearing audiences through the use of British Sign Language, Spoken English and creative captioning.

Listings Information

7th-11th June at The Yard Theatre, Unit 2a Queen’s Yard, London E9 5EN

People of the Eye, The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble with Erin Siobhan Hutching, 7.30pm

Break Yourself, Ira Brand, 9pm

Tickets £12 for both shows (multi-buy prices available to attend two or more nights of the 5 week festival)

Available from www.theyardtheatre.co.uk/event/now16week-5/

www.thedeafandhearingensemble.com  | @dh_ensemble| @people_oftheeye   | @erinsiobhanh| @YardTheatre

For further press enquiries, requests for tickets, interview or picture requests contact:

Erin Hutching, The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble - info@thedeafandhearingensemble.com

Click to Download the PDF of this Press Release. For a Word version, please contact Erin on the details above. 

My Year With The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble : The Journey Of People Of The Eye by Erin Siobhan Hutching

This post originally appeared at www.erinsiobhanh.com/blog on 31st December 2015

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato

In September 2014, I was at a crossroads personally and professionally. I found myself back in London after a year away, looking for work opportunities and armed with an idea for a performance I wanted to make.

I had left London in August 2013 to work in Germany and New Zealand. New Zealand, the land of the long white cloud, hobbits and Flight of the Conchords, is where I consider home even though I haven’t lived there in nearly 10 years. I chose to leave a long tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Germany in order to be a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding, a difficult decision at the time – the actors among you will know that turning down work goes against the grain – but one which I certainly didn’t regret.  

While I was in New Zealand I met more of my sister’s friends within the Deaf community there, as well as her husband's Deaf friends visiting from America. The wedding was interpreted by a fantastic SLI, and the wedding party was both D/deaf and hearing. In the following weeks, I started to think about using sign language in my own artistic performance practice. Having studied acting and worked in the industry professionally for nearly ten years across six countries, I had not come across many Deaf theatre companies or companies making interesting accessible theatre. I had specialised in experimental physical theatre and then gone on to study imaginative text-based realist performance at Stella Adler, and I had always been interested in personal, autobiographical performance, but it had not occurred to me until this point to look to my own background - a family that communicates using a mixture of spoken English, New Zealand sign language, sign supported English and home sign - as inspiration for my work.  

With my sister and mother in the 80s

Returning to the UK with a kernel of an idea for a show, various pieces of research, transcripts of interviews I had conducted, and a couple of scenes written, I wasn’t really sure how to go about taking things further. I’d run a fringe theatre company with two friends in Australia a few years prior but since moving to the UK I had worked exclusively on theatre and film projects for other companies. I knew I wanted to get back to making my own work, but I didn’t have the professional networks set up to make the process smoother.

Then I found Jennifer Bates and The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble.

After an initial meeting to discuss the idea for the show, which I had tentatively named People of the Eye*, Jennifer and I met in a rehearsal room at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she had recently become a Masters student, to try a couple of scenes - the two which were the most developed based on work I had already done on them. Then Jennifer was sent some information about a scratch night at the Battersea Arts Centre and we decided we may as well apply, thinking we probably wouldn’t be selected. But we were. Jen knew Sophie Stone was perfect for the project, and despite the fact that we didn’t have any money at all, Sophie generously agreed to be involved. We only had two rushed rehearsals to create a 10 minute piece, but we instantly found a shared language, connection with the material and desire to make something worthwhile.

Sophie and I at BAC

The beginning of 2015 brought an Arts Council application and an office/rehearsal space at LimeWharf in Hackney, where the team has been unfailingly supportive to artists such as ourselves and we made many valuable connections. For two wonderful weeks in April we were able to experiment and play. Jennifer strongly believes in utilising play theory in her rehearsals. I was very open to making changes to my written material, using it as a basis to devise from but to add or discard ideas where necessary, and Sophie is a very skilled and generous deviser, willing to contribute her own experiences and boundless imagination. We were also supported by outside eyes Stephen Collins, Nadia Nadarajah, David Sands, Tessa Parr and Lucy Ellinson. Our technical creative team Emma Houston, Gerry Maguire, Oliver Savidge and David Monteith-Hodge made invaluable contributions.

Rehearsal shots from our first R&D for People of the Eye, photo credits David Monteith-Hodge

We decided to invite the audience to share in open discussions after our first two performances - nerve-wracking for the artists, but ultimately very worthwhile. The company’s aim to create a space in which barriers can be broken down – performer/audience, D(d)eaf/hearing, across ages and cultural backgrounds – means that it makes sense for us to ask our audiences directly what they like and what they want to see more of. 

A small section of the post show discussion at LimeWharf, April 2015. From left: Sophie Stone, Erin Siobhan Hutching, Jennifer Bates, Sophie Allen (SLI), Tracey Tyer (SLI - seated)

Around this time we began to correspond with Matthew Caines, the editor of the Cultural Professionals section of the Guardian, who invited us to contribute an opinion piece. This really gave us the opportunity to think about our voice as a company, and what we have to say. Editing four artist's contributions down to the required word limit was probably the most challenging part!

We were invited to present 20 minutes of People of the Eye at Pulse Festival at the New Wosley in Ipswich, for the Suitcase Prize curated by China Plate, and to present the full work in progress piece for the Last Word Festival at The Roundhouse in London the next day. This was the second time the company had been invited to perform at The Roundhouse, and we hope for a long and healthy relationship with that wonderful venue. We were able to have a further two days of rehearsal before these performances, in which we added some material which we hadn’t had time to rehearse in our initial two week R&D, and rehearse some new transitions for the selection of scenes we would be doing at Pulse Festival. During this weekend Sophie and I stayed overnight in shared accommodation and we were set a series of tasks by Jennifer to develop our “sisterly” relationship outside the rehearsal room.

So that was May 2015. We knew we would be performing the piece at Forest Fringe in August, and I spent some time after The Roundhouse performance restructuring the material. We were fortunate to be offered a slot at Shuffle Festival in Mile End in July, in which we were able to trial the new structure and experience an outdoor festival environment in which audience members were free to come and go as they pleased. We even had a dog run on “stage” at one point! It was a really valuable experience because we were able to test ourselves by performing in a non-traditional space, and we received very positive feedback for our performance despite not having things we might take for granted in a more traditional venue, such as the ability to black out the space completely. The concept of Shuffle Festival, which is designed to bring together the community in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park with outdoor films and performances, is fantastic and it relies on volunteers. The festival began in 2013 and is curated by a local resident you may have heard of, filmmaker Danny Boyle.

At the end of July I headed up to Edinburgh to start working for the Gilded Balloon. The Fringe Festival is a truly unique environment, and it completely consumes those who venture to take part in it. I saw about 50 shows, of varying quality, but each of them helped me solidify my own ideas about what I wanted an audience member to take away from my work. Some particularly excellent pieces which were accessible for Deaf audiences were Can I Start Again Please by Sue McLaine and Nadia Nadarajah (who we’re proud to say is part of our Ensemble) and Graeae’s The Solid Life of Sugar Water. Inspiring personal pieces framed in original, innovative ways such as Jo Clifford’s The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven and Emma Frankland’s None of Us is Yet a Robot; beautiful physical theatre like Gecko’s Institute; and smart, snappy new writing like Made in China’s Tonight I’m Gonna Be The New Me, Ruaraidh Murray’sAllie and Action Hero’s Wrecking Ball also stood out as containing elements of the kind of theatre I’d like to make.

A number of the shows that I’ve listed were also part of the Forest Fringe's fantastic program and The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble’s Access Day there, organised with Solar Bear Theatre Company. Although I had little to do with the organisation of this (Jennifer does an amazing job at matching theatre companies with BSL interpreters) it was really gratifying to see exciting Fringe shows made accessible to D/deaf audience members, and to witness how allowing an interpreter to become part of the piece rather than standing off to one side can add an additional rich layer to the work. Forest Fringe is an essential part of the theatrical landscape, a safe, supportive environment for artists to present experimental, innovative and at times provocative work. We hope our collaboration with Andy, Ira and Deborah will continue for a long time. Forest Fringe also hosted the iF Platform's forum "iF Not Now, When?" on the same day as our Access Day, which meant we were able to share a venue with artists we admire such as Jenny Sealey of Graeae Theatre Company and Jess Thom (Tourretteshero) who were speaking in the forum, as well as catch up with the wonderful Paula Garfield from Deafinitely Theatre, who has been a real support to our company. As well as performing People of the Eye (still in a work in progress stage, but much further along than the early showings) and organising the interpreters for the performances, the Ensemble also set up a fun play area, created by our enthusiastic interns Rachael Merry and Angel Stone. 

  Our play area, Forest Fringe 2015

Our play area, Forest Fringe 2015

Throughout the various work in progress incarnations of People of The Eye that we had performed, we had struggled to find an ending, feeling that the story was unfinished. Perhaps the pressure of telling a story which is so personal to all of us contributed to this. We tried many different things but each time the story felt incomplete – fine for a work in progress, but we are aiming towards a full show. Finally, during our only day of rehearsal before Forest Fringe, something clicked. The humour in the piece is very important to us, as is the relationship between the two central characters, the sisters. We were able to develop an ending for this performance which felt right, and we were told by several audience members that we should take the “work in progress” off our show title, as it felt more complete than many other shows they’d seen at the Fringe. The company agreed that this was the best performance we had done yet, but we also agreed that we want to rework it significantly before we present it as a full show in 2016.

At this point in time we are looking for a videographer/animator to work with us to visually represent soundscape and develop creative captioning. We would love to work with a D/deaf animator or videographer alongside our hearing soundscape artist, in the spirit of the Deaf & Hearing Ensemble. We are also looking for a D/deaf choreographer to work with us on movement and improve our BSL for performance. We’ve got some exciting opportunities on the cards for this show in 2016 which we hope to confirm and share very soon!

In addition to working on People of the Eye, The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble is producing an event on 1st March at Genesis Cinema where artists are invited to present 10 minute scratch pieces which are accessible for D/deaf and hearing audiences. We are aware that there aren't many opportunities for D/deaf artists to present work in progress pieces in the ‘mainstream’ theatre community, and that many hearing artists are interested in developing accessibility in their work but they may not be sure how to approach it. We hope to provide a platform for both of these things to occur.

In October, Jennifer and Sophie facilitated a workshop with Southwark Playhouse's Young Company which was received enthusiastically. Hopefully we will be able to expand our work with Southwark Playhouse to include running workshops for a group of young Deaf & Hearing perfomers in 2016. Ensemble members Nadia Nadarajah and David Sands ran a schools workshop which received excellent feedback earlier in the year, and this is an area we'd like to move into.  Jennifer also ran a workshop at Solar Bear's Progression 2015 conference, setting the attendees of her workshop playful tasks to improve communication and break down barriers. 

The Ensemble has also been awarded a commission to conduct a Research and Development with the aim of creating an outdoor performance for Liberty Festival. 

Apart from working with the DH Ensemble, in 2015 I have been lucky enough to work with a range of talented artists - I reunited with La JohnJoseph to being work on a new piece; worked with a new immersive heatre company Hush Hush Hoopla; continued producing my own staged play reading event World Dramaturgy with Elena Liutkute focussing on international scripts ; worked on a theatre research week with Admiration Theatre; and appeared in a few small TV and commercial roles. I have new actor representation - APM Associates. All of this work is significant. However, I feel that I have found a home in a supportive environment and a niche for myself as an artist in the cultural landscape with The Ensemble, contributing what I can as a performer, producer, deviser and writer to helping this exciting, unique company grow. The artists who have worked with The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble rotate on a project by project basis but once you are part of the Ensemble, you always will be. We look forward to welcoming new members in 2016.  

* "They are first, last, and all the time the people of the eye.” – G. Veditz, 1910. This was the inspiration for the name of the play.







Rachael's adventure (Part 1 Shuffle Festival July 2015)

Hello wonderful people!

I am The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble intern (also go by the name of Rachael, @flosssie) and the lovely Jen has asked me to blog a little about my time with this fabulous bunch!

Now please forgive me, I have never written a blog before; however I shall try my best to write witty and interesting things that shed some much deserved light on this damn amazing theatre company!

 This is our Rachael. 

This is our Rachael. 

A little background on the intern; I’m 3 weeks away from being 25 (or a quarter of a century…thanks mum), I shall soon be in my 3rd and final year of a degree in Theatre Arts, Education and Deaf studies and the little corner of theatre that holds my attention just a little more than the rest is Sign theatre and work exploring mental illness. I also have a 3rd of a nursing degree, a slight lip balm obsession and soft spot for the charity SignHealth (look them up, they do fabulous work) having faced my running fears and completed a 10k for them last month!

Now then, back to DH Ensemble. I first came to hear about them around spring time on a ferocious internet search knowing I needed to secure a work placement for my summer, and not content with settling just to pass the module. I’m ashamed to say before this afternoon of determined googling I had not heard of The Deaf and Hearing Ensemble; and even more surprisingly, neither had anyone on my course; even the lecturers I spoke to (and they know everyone!). As I googled (okay full disclosure: stalked) as much information as I could about them I couldn’t believe such a wonderful company existed that wasn’t on my radar. Especially since the lovely Sophie Stone is involved and I have seen her perform with my course mates on a few occasions. ANYWAY, naturally as anyone who knows me will concur I did what I do best and became I complete pain in the a**; multiple tweeted, direct messaged, emailed and probably Facebooked the poor people until they were forced to reply; very surprisingly not to tell me to go away but in fact to invite me to see them perform and become their intern! There were many an exciting email around this time…I may have even danced around a little bit.

So, fast forward to now; where to start? I first saw People of the Eye performed at the The Roundhouse and immediately fell in love. The piece is so striking and having seen it again a few weeks ago at Shuffle festival it just gets stronger! I still maintain as I did from the beginning that the mother’s monologue is so poignant and unexpected that you can’t help but be mesmerised by Erin’s humility. And no matter how many times I see it; S**t Kids Say, it still makes me have to stifle giggles like an idiot; special mention to Sophie’s “you’ve got one leg” character…hilarious! I do feel slightly guilty for ambushing Jen at The Roundhouse given she was so busy; however I can’t help myself! I think I may have let slip a few times I would be willing to contemplate being their slave just to be present…is it clear how grateful I am for this placement yet?

I was lucky enough to be invited to accompany Jen, Erin, David and Sophie to their rehearsals for Shuffle and then their performance. I’d be a big fat liar if I said I wasn’t nervous; in fact I think I walked at the speed of snails from the tube to the venue. I couldn’t have been made more welcome; in fact it was incredibly humbling just how welcome I was. The biggest thing is I didn’t feel like an intern; I felt valued. Granted, it still took me about an hour to say anything in a full sentence but I’m sure I covered that up REALLY well. Being in that rehearsal room was awesome. One of my biggest learning objectives was to witness the processes of how the company works creatively and what I saw shocked me hugely. Stupidly, I’d always been under the impression that professional companies had a magical book of answers and secret things of how to create amazing work; however I realised that the way I work now; both with personal and university projects is exactly the same as how DH Ensemble work and rehearse! I know it sounds stupid and obvious but I was surprised; and incredibly relieved! It was also a little reassuring to see that even this company in all their fabulousness (yes that is a word!) could struggle the way we do in our university projects; It quietens the voice of doubt a little more. Seeing their adaptation to this tiny space with no floor (challenge #1) with potentially no sound or projection (challenge #2345) was interesting. Thankfully all these things were resolved with minutes to spare and some swift work from the company, but I admit I found it difficult to be helpful and do my best to assist in making things run smoothly without feeling like I was getting in the way!

 Sophie and Erin in the tech… check out the last minute flooring!

Sophie and Erin in the tech… check out the last minute flooring!

The shuffle performance had an audience member leave because he couldn’t stand the high pitched sound within the piece; something I found quite interesting. We also had a dog wander in and grace the stage for a few seconds and the actors were so engrossed they didn’t even realise! Overall, Shuffle festival was genuinely one of the best days of my professional life and I am so thankful I could be there.

 The team and some audience hanging out at the festival after the performance. Bliss. 

The team and some audience hanging out at the festival after the performance. Bliss. 

And then...

It is now less than a week until the Edinburgh Festival BSL access day where People of the Eye will be performed and the childrens’ area for adults complete with a life size colourful memory tree will be up. Having asked to create this area I am now obviously terrified it will all go to pot and I will ruin one of the greatest days in the yearly calendar for The Deaf and Hearing Ensemble. However, hopefully not! And I cannot WAIT to get up there and get stuck in! 

 

#CountdowntoRoundhouse

Some more lovely pics.....#CountdowntoRoundhouse on 30th May

  Day 9 of the 30 day challenge and its wee Sidey... Knitting!!!!   #countdowntoroundhouse     #peopleoftheeye

Day 9 of the 30 day challenge and its wee Sidey... Knitting!!!! #countdowntoroundhouse #peopleoftheeye

  Day eight of our 30 day challenge!!!! There's our lovely Rachel! Don't think she's changed very much over the years!! X   #countdowntoroundhouse     #peopleoftheeye

Day eight of our 30 day challenge!!!! There's our lovely Rachel! Don't think she's changed very much over the years!! X #countdowntoroundhouse #peopleoftheeye

  Day seven on our 30 day challenge!!  #countdowntoroundhouse     #peopleoftheeye   this is beautiful Laura, we love her!!! Xx

Day seven on our 30 day challenge!!#countdowntoroundhouse #peopleoftheeye this is beautiful Laura, we love her!!! Xx

  #countdowntoroundhouse   day six!!! Here's wee Elaine and her little sis Laura!! Look at those wee faces!!!! Xx

#countdowntoroundhouse day six!!! Here's wee Elaine and her little sis Laura!! Look at those wee faces!!!! Xx

  Here's our David!!! Day five of our 30 day challenge!  #countdowntoroundhouse     #peopleoftheeye   he's just adorable!! X

Here's our David!!! Day five of our 30 day challenge!#countdowntoroundhouse #peopleoftheeye he's just adorable!! X

  Day four!!!!   #countdowntoroundhouse   Our beautiful friend Laura and her sister Francesca! They are so cute!!!  #peopleoftheeye

Day four!!!! #countdowntoroundhouse Our beautiful friend Laura and her sister Francesca! They are so cute!!!#peopleoftheeye

 1985?

1985?

Day three!!#countdowntoroundhouse Our beautiful friend Tom and his sister Becca who was 24 years old yesterday!! Happy Birthday Becca!!!

Day One of our 30 day challenge

We've launched a 30 day challenge in celebration of our work in progress showing of People of the Eye at The Roundhouse Theatre.  

We've asked people to send us photos of themselves as children - the more embarrassing the better and we will post one a day till the 30th May! 

Here's day one! Tierra and her little sister Tene. Too cute!!!



Into week two - Monday 13th April

This was posted on 13/4/2015 on www.erinsiobhanh.com

It's Monday morning and we are about to embark on our second week of research and development. We created a lot of really interesting work last week, based on a foundation of experimentation and play. We are working from a script, which I have written, but it's a living, breathing, changing document that is providing us with a roadmap for the devising process rather than existing as a marker we must accurately represent. It's not Shakespeare, the writer is in the room, and trying different things is actively encouraged.

We are drawing on a mix of training and inspiration from viewpoints and butoh to Strasberg's method to movement sequences in films like Julie Taymor's Across the Universe. We are also lucky enough to have several hours of my family's home movies from when I was a baby up until age 8 or 9 to work with.

During our experimentation we touched on some very personal areas for the three main artists (Jennifer Bates, Sophie Stone and myself) as well as hopefully discovering some universal truths about family, disability, childbirth and motherhood, sibling relationships, and the innate kindness of humanity (particularly children) juxtaposed with the ability to be so destructive in a single moment with a single phrase. We talked about those hurtful things that stay with you always, even if a thousand other people have been complimentary. We discussed the tendency for the medical profession to want to offer a neat solution, a "fix" to make everything "normal", no matter how complex the situation. Our experiences intersect and create a tapestry, and are at times confronting and uncomfortable, and at others funny and sweet. This show is nothing if not honest, a series of stories which is at its core about living life in your own way making the best choices you can for the people you care about.

This week we're going to have a lot more people in the rehearsal room, with our videographer Gerry Maguire and our soundscape artist Emma Houston with us full time, our lighting designer Ollie Savage and in-house photographer David Monteith-Hodge with us nearer the end of the week, and some valuable feedback sought from other performers who are coming in as "outside eyes" - Stephen Collins, Nadia Nadarajah, David Sands and Tessa Parr. It's going to be a bit scary moving out of the comfort zone of mostly being just the three of us but this an important step before showing it to an audience on Friday!

Into Week One......#PeopleOfTheEye

Day one of rehearsals started with a long improvisation/Viewpoints exercise followed by the announcement that we would go straight into a stagger run (thanks Jen!) It felt like a real mess at times but we did find some magic moments amongst the rubble. A guided improvisation on the themes of the play in the afternoon led to a lot of really interesting discoveries about character and relationship.  

 Battles in the rehearsal room

Battles in the rehearsal room

 Sisterly love 

Sisterly love 

Someone (okay it was me) had decided that having a fundraiser the first night of rehearsals would be a good idea. So, sweaty, exhausted, battered and bruised; having rolled around the rehearsal space, wrestled, improvised, cried and all the other things you do when creating a play, we abandoned our rehearsal leggings; put on our sparkly fascinators, red lipstick and cocktail dresses; packed our bags full of bunting, fairy lights and raffle prizes and battled peak hour on the tube to get to Genesis Cinema.

 Jen, Sophie and Erin all jazzed up

Jen, Sophie and Erin all jazzed up

The evening was a resounding success, with a full event made up of D/deaf and hearing audience members. We were really lucky to have the opportunity show Ted Evans' film Retreat (and have him in attendance), alongside performances by Brian & Duffy and Stephen Collins who were representing Deafinitely Theatre (with Paula Garfield along to show support), alongside Confession and Small World provided by BSL Zone (with Maggie representing BSLBT in the audience). There were lots of other amazing people including many of my friends who are wonderful at constantly supporting my artistic endeavours with their presence.  

 A great turnout!

A great turnout!

You can see more pictures here on Facebook, thanks to David Monteith-Hodge (Photographise)


Erin Siobhan Hutching

Entering the eye of the storm......by Erin Siobhan Hutching

We're about to begin our two week research and development period for People of the Eye at LimeWharf Annex (thanks Limewharf!) with support from the Arts Council England (thanks Arts Council!) It was such a relief to receive this funding. We would have gone ahead without it, but apart from providing us with endorsement and reassurance that this is a necessary project built on solid artistic principles, it also means we can pay everyone properly. Which is a win. Because as everyone should know (but often doesn't), creating art is hard work that involves complete mental and emotional commitment and it provides benefits to society that are much more far-reaching than the immediate impact on the people that see that individual piece of art. And as such, artists deserve to be paid for their work.

 The Arts Council England Logo

The Arts Council England Logo

And the lovely artists we are paying for their work are now confirmed as well. Gerry Maguire from Pins and Needles Media will be creating video content including projected subtitles, Oliver Savidge is taking care of lighting design and general technical management, Emma Houston will be creating an evocative soundscape to go alongside Gerry's visuals, and David Monteith-Hodge will be photographing and filming the fundraiser, rehearsals and performances as well as filming audience feedback for documentation purposes, and generally helping me retain my sanity. And of course the lovely Jennifer Bates, who is back in town after ten days in Glasgow where we communicated constantly via every electronic media known to man, will be directing, and the lovely Sophie Stone, who I sadly haven't seen since our scratch in December but who has also been part of Facebook, Twitter and Email communications, will be devising and performing. I'm not doing much, just a bit of producing. And writing the script. And devising with Sophie and Jen. Oh and performing in the show.

 Erin and Jen in a production meeting

Erin and Jen in a production meeting

We've undertaken to fundraise, in case we didn't get our grant, and also to demonstrate to ourselves and the Arts Council that we can! We're really excited about our fundraiser on Tuesday at Genesis Cinema which has kindly donated the really cool Bar Paragon (thanks Genesis!) for the event. We've got some really gorgeous Deaf and hearing volunteers to help out, some very cool films and performances, a sign language interpreter, and we're going to wear pretty dresses and sparkly fascinators so we hope there's a good turn out to make it all worthwhile! I really wanted to provide a forum for Deaf and hearing to interact, particularly for networking for arts practitioners. Deafinitely Theatre, Solar Bear Theatre Company, BSL Zone/BSLBT and Neath Films have all been really supportive to help us put on this event which has been hugely encouraging.

 Bar Paragon at Genesis Cinema

Bar Paragon at Genesis Cinema

I'm going to try and blog daily during the rehearsal process (except for Easter Sunday, as Jen has said I'm not allowed to do any work, so I just need to eat lots of chocolate on that day - I gave it up for Lent, so I'm totally okay with that plan), so have a little read if you're interested in the process. We've been speaking to the Guardian about contributing to their Disability series as well.

Erin Siobhan Hutching

www.erinsiobhanh.com

 

3rd April 2015

What a day! 

Massive production meeting and planning for our fantastic fundraiser in April. It's going to be brilliant. We're are just so lucky to be surrounded by such gorgeous people that really care about the company and the work. 

Seriously loving it!