This project sparked the idea for The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble. An Arts Council England 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.
Many of the words and sentence structures in Shakespeare’s text do not translate into BSL so 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 have 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 interest is not in creating theatre solely for Deaf people but theatre that is created for and accessible to both D/deaf and hearing. This is what makes our company different and exciting.
This was the birth of the idea of the ensemble.