This project was the birth of The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble. A Royal Shakespeare Company supported exploration into the use of Visual Vernacular and British Sign Language to explore Shakespeare's text and characters, working with scenes from Henry IV, Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth.
A large part of our exploration was finding the meeting point between a straightforward translation of the text and freeing the text up to give a Deaf performer ownership of the words and ideas. “What can stay true to the original text and what has to change to bring the writing to life?”
On the final day we performed a showing of what we had worked on during the week. Our main area of exploration was in visual storytelling we used elements of live music and spoken text.
This confirmed our company's interest is not in creating theatre solely for Deaf people but theatre that is created for and accessible to both D/deaf and hearing as a shared experience.
First in Three: Northern Stage, Newcastle 2013
A surreal world exploring competition, clowning and audience interaction. This was one of The Ensemble's early pieces, supported by Arts Council England.
Rehearsal space donated by The Unicorn Theatre, and support received from Northern Stage.
The Roundhouse: Spoken Word Festival (Cinema Trip)
The DH Ensemble was invited to perform at The Roundhouse as part of their Spoken Word Festival in December 2013 . This piece was supported by Arts Council England.
We put together a fun and energetic piece about a group of strange and wonderful people who find themselves sucked into a cinema screen and on an adventure together to learn important lessons in life. With the help of some special friends in 3D glasses, a bit of audience participation and tons of popcorn, the characters had an unworldly experience that left the audience feeling happy and uplifted.
This piece went on to inspire our idea for Nodus Tollens, an outdoor piece commissioned by Liberty Festival in 2016.