Deaf Utopia: The Future of Deaf Culture and Identity
On Thursday 20th February, join us after the performance of Extraordinary Wall o̶f̶ ̶S̶i̶l̶e̶n̶c̶e̶ at HOME, Manchester for a panel discussion exploring ‘Deaf Utopia: The Future of Deaf Culture and Identity’.
We’re delighted to be joined by some wonderful guests including Nadia Nadarajah, Dr Katherine Rogers, Charlie Swinbourne and Mohamed Farah. The discussion will be chaired by one the cast David Ellington, and BSL interpreted by Kyra Pollitt and Sarah Glendenning.
Nadia Nadarajah trained at the International Visual Theatre (Paris) and then joined Deafinitely Theatre’s Creative Hub training scheme. She has experience in theatre includes: Shakespeare’s Globe As You Like It (2019), Hamlet (2018), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014) & Love’s Labour’s Lost (2012); Bristol Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol (2018); Royal Exchange Theatre’s House of Bernarda Alba & Our Town (2017). She will be performing at Shakespeare’s Globe this Summer 2020 in the leading role of production: Antony & Cleopatra.
Dr Katherine Rogers
Dr Katherine Rogers is a NIHR Post-Doctoral Fellow and has been involved in the Social Research with Deaf people (SORD) group at the University of Manchester since 2006. Her research interests primarily involve issues pertaining to Deaf communities and their families, especially those which promote more positive outcomes. Her interests includes: politics; Deaf rights; reading books as well as going to the theatre!
Charlie is an RTS award-winning writer who is currently writing for several BBC dramas. Charlie has a strong background in creating and writing comedies and dramas focusing on Deaf culture. His sketch show Deaf Funny (which he also directed) won him an RTS Yorkshire Writer award in 2018 and a Best TV Programme Award at Deaffest 2019. Among his other writing credits are award-winning half hour TV dramas My Song and Departure Lounge, plus the award-winning comedies The Kiss, Coming Out, The Fingerspellers, Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, and the UK Film Council funded short Hands Solo, which received a theatrical release. Charlie also produced and directed the Found series of documentaries, broadcast on Film4, each of which tells three deaf people’s stories of discovering sign language for the first time. Charlie has written journalism for the Guardian, BBC Online and edits the Limping Chicken blog, through which he broke the international news story of the fake interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013. Charlie is currently writing new commissions for BBC3 and for Casualty.
Chair: David Ellington
David Ellington’s roles have been diverse, including film, theatre, and television drama and presenting since 1997. David has always enjoyed creative works including TV / film making projects and theatre workshop projects and also supported ALRA in running theatre course for Deaf students.
Films and TV / adverts credits under his belt are Accessible advert – The Last Leg (C4), Paralympic accessible advert (C4), Smirnoff – Deaf dancer, Small World- Episode 2 (Mutt & Jeff Pictures), Otherside / Game of a Life (Neath Films), Stand By Your Man (BBC), I’m Spaziticus – The Comedy Lab (C4), The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (BBC), Holby City (BBC)
Theatre also includes Frozen (Fingersmiths), Paralympic Opening Ceremony / The Garden / Against the Tide (Strange Fruit & Graeae), Bent / Diary of an Action Man (Graeae), Under Milk Wood (Oxfordshire Theatre Tour Company). Circus art and street theatre experience also includes Extraordinary Bodies – What Am I Worth / Weighting (Diverse City & Cirque Bijou).
Helen, Alan, and Graham are told they are impaired and need fixing. As they begin to question the world around them, three powerful coming-of-age stories unfold, uniting in a struggle against violence, ignorance and oppression.
Connecting through a shared past they are transported to one pivotal moment in 1880 when a dangerous ideology was born: one that would impair the way the world views Deaf people for over a century.
Ad Infinitum combine the company’s signature style of physical storytelling with the beauty of British Sign Language in an unmissable feast for the senses.
Extraordinary Wall is a bilingual performance in English and BSL. If you’d like a copy of the script please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“You never know what you’re going to get with shows produced by Ad infinitum. They are always of a high quality… A thought-provoking powerful play on a subject never previously explored and is a welcome means of prompting discussion.” – British Theatre Guide
★★★★★ “I did not take my eyes off the stage… The combination of historical detail and at times, heart-wrenching, true-life stories were handled with compassion and delivered in a way that as an audience member, I did not want to look away… Ad Infinitum – you have lovingly crafted a wonderful piece of theatre you can be proud of.” – North West End
★★★★ “The show not only meets its ambitions of theatrical creativity, but also the controlled emotional force to break the wall of ignorance which has silenced their experience… If you need proof that theatre can change your perspective on the modern world, this is surely it.” – A Younger Theatre
★★★★ “Gecko and Mind the Gap have big international reputations and, on the evidence here, deservedly so… The companies are to be congratulated… Extraordinary.” – Northern Soul
“A beautifully expressive, impactful piece of theatre… enlightening, powerful, and thought-provoking… It will definitely stay in my mind for a long time.” – The Play’s The Thing
“A genuinely fascinating production… An out and loud retaking of deaf history and a bold statement to those developing new gene editing tools that Deafhood is here to stay ” – Live Art Alive
“A defiant treat for the senses.” – Mancunion
★★★★ “Directed with precision and care by George Mann… Part history lesson and part lecture on deafhood but also a subtle interrogation of theatre itself… Often, this feels subtly profound.” – The Guardian
★★★★★ “Beautifully orchestrated, both in terms of its performance and its musicality… Ad Infinitum have triumphed with Extraordinary Wall o
f Silence… It’s poetic enough to be beautiful, and confronting enough to be powerful… Deserves to run and run.” – Broadway World
★★★★★ “Immersive and poetic in the best way… Profoundly moving… A must-see.” – The Reviews Hub
★★★★ “Extraordinary Wall of Silence opens up our hearts, our minds and our ears so that we can finally let the voice of deaf people be heard.” – Stage Talk (Bristol)
★★★★ “Compassionate and informative… At the end of the piece, with quiet rage, the Deaf performers assert their right to exist.” – The Stage
“Rather than presenting a confusing cacophony of voices, the interaction between [spoken language, physical language and British Sign Language] proves an engaging way of storytelling, one that offers refreshing insight into the several different worlds we see onstage… Ad Infinitum is a company known for its physical storytelling, which here proves the perfect medium.” – What’s On Stage
“The cast make a smooth ensemble… Creates believable, nuanced stories for compelling characters.” – Exeunt
“A potent and at times shocking piece of storytelling that relates the living history of oppression and misunderstanding of the deaf community at the hands of the hearing.” – Bristol 24/7
“Ad Infinitum is different. It is a theatre company that refuses to be put in a box.” – Lyn Gardner, The Stage
“One of contemporary theatre’s vital organs.” – Time Out