A Deafinitely Theatre production, commissioned by New Diorama
Written and directed by Paula Garfield
York Theatre Royal, 21-22 June
Cast: Fifi Garfield, Cherie Gordon, Zoë McWhinney and Bea Webster;
Set and Costume Designer: Grace Venning; Lighting Designer: Ali Hunter;
Projection Designer: Hayley Egan, Sound Designer: XANA;
Movement Director: Angela Gasparetto; Dramaturg: Lakesha Arie-Angelo
‘We are warriors. We are survivors. If you need our help, let us know.’
Four people come together to perform a ritual of community and catharsis. Gathering up true stories of deaf women and non-binary people’s experiences of surviving abuse, they form a witches’ coven like no other – with a cauldron of newt’s eyes and butterflies, deep scars, and blazing signs.
A visually-rich, playful and pulsating urgent world première from multi-award-winners Deafinitely Theatre (4.48 Psychosis, Contractions), combines British Sign Language and English in the company’s unique bilingual style. Drawing on interviews with women exploring domestic abuse in the deaf community, this is a defiant and empowering new work from nationally acclaimed director Paula Garfield marking the company’s 20th anniversary.
Paula Garfield, Artistic Director of Deafinitely Theatre, said: “We are so proud and excited about the forthcoming 20th anniversary year for Deafinitely Theatre. We’re so thrilled to be breaking down taboos and stereotypes of deaf people and showing what we can achieve and what makes up our rich and diverse deaf community in 2022 and beyond.”
“We’re so pleased to be working with more deaf writers, particularly on our short films – Talking Hands – which are giving a voice to members of the deaf community from a range of backgrounds – LGBTQIA+, non-binary and others. We are thrilled that our 20th anniversary season will be celebrating stories by a diverse range of deaf writers and getting their voices on stage and on screen makes me so proud to celebrate our 20th anniversary and look forward to what we can create in the future.”
Fifi Garfield’s credits for the company include Contractions, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, other theatre credits include Macbeth (RSC), and Emma (UK tour). For television, her credits include Deaf Funny, 5 Needles, Vanishing, Don’t Leave Me This Way and Switch.
Cherie Gordon’s credits as an actor include Echoes (Brighton Screen and Film School) Afterthought (Derby Theatre), A Night in Sign (Storyhouse Live), Summer’s Park Adventure (Music Box Theatre), Messy (Zoo Co Theatre), Listen (BFI Film Academy short film), Pretty Bop (R.A.E music video), Others (Graeae play reading), FGM (Sign Health awareness video) and Reverberation (BSL Zone). Credits as a director include Getting There (Toucan, Oxford Playhouse and Deafinitely Theatre) and Untitled (short film). She also works with Handprint Theatre, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, Deafinitely Theatre and Graeae, leading and assisting workshops for children.
Zoë McWhinney’s recent theatre credits include Red (Polka Theatre), The Two Fridas (Chickenshed/Handprint Theatre, V&A), Donut Worry (Young Vic) and Jack O’Kent (Ovalhouse).
Bea Webster’s recent theatre credits include The Winter’s Tale (RSC), Holding/Holding On (National Theatre of Scotland), peeling (UK tour) and Mother Courage and her Children (Leeds Playhouse).