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Deafinitely Theatre Announce TALKING HANDS, Three Short Films Performed In British Sign Language

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The films are I Still Blame Myself, Keeping Hope, and Lockdown Hairy.

Deafinitely Theatre Announce TALKING HANDS, Three Short Films Performed In British Sign Language

Ahead of their 20th anniversary in 2022 and the world première Everyday, Deafinitely Theatre, in association with Paines Plough, today announce a new initiative, Talking Hands, which launches with three new short films performed in British Sign Language. The creation of these three short films throughout the pandemic extends Deafinitely Theatre's commitment to providing opportunities to deaf artists at a time when creating live theatre wasn't possible.

Directed by Paula Garfield, the films are I Still Blame Myself by Lianne Herbert, starring Kelsey Gordon; Keeping Hope by Melissa Mostyn starring Nadia Nadarajah; and Lockdown Hairy written and performed by EJ Raymond. Talking Hands will be available at http://www.deafinitelytheatre.co.uk/talking-hands.

Locked down in 2020, three deaf single parents are adapting to a new way of living. Lianne finds it difficult to get her little boy out of bed every morning, let alone home school maths when he'd prefer YouTube Kids.

On the other side of the UK, a mother has a team of carers for her disabled daughter reduced to the help of one - her nine-year-old son.

And with too much time on their hands, EJ is reflecting on big boobs, hairy legs, and a life-changing decision.

Paula Garfield, Artistic Director of Deafinitely Theatre, said today "It is my honour to finally share Talking Hands with audiences. The release of these three short films proves not only the tenacity of deaf artists during the pandemic but also revealed new and dynamic ways in which Deafinitely

Theatre has thrived when live theatre hasn't been possible. This is owed entirely to the sheer artistry of those who made Talking Hands happen. It is my hope that sharing these monologues shines a spotlight on the challenges and joy of being a deaf or hard of hearing parent whilst revealing the phenomenal talent and adaptability of our artists, and I cannot wait to share them with audiences."

I Still Blame Myself

Written by Lianne Herbert

Directed by Paula Garfield

Performed by Kelsey Gordon

I Still Blame Myself tells the story of a deaf single mother in lockdown facing the daily grind of home schooling, parent WhatsApp groups and ignoring the difficult voices in her head. Performed by Kelsey Gordon, this Talking Heads monologue is a brave story about mental health and being a single parent.

Lianne Herbert's credits for the company include TwentyFortySeven. Other credits include The Door (4Play). Her poetry has been included in Magma 69 The Deaf Issue and Peepal Tree Press Weighted Words anthology, and has also written for The Limping Chicken and gal-dem.

Kelsey Gordon plays Lianne. Her credits as an actor include Messy (Zoo Co Theatre), Listen (BFI Film Academy short film), Pretty Bop (R.A.E music video), And Others (Graeae play reading), FGM (Sign Health awareness video) and Reverberation (BSL Zone). She also works with Handprint Theatre and Mousetrap Theatre Projects, leading and assisting workshops for children.

Keeping Hope

Written by Melissa Mostyn

Directed by Paula Garfield

Performed by Nadia Nadarajah

Keeping Hope sees a deaf parent-carer and her nine-year-old son faced with the overwhelming reality of taking on the roles of six daily carers for her disabled daughter in lockdown. This Talking Heads monologue is a heart-warming and inspirational story about hope in the face of adversity.

Melissa Mostyn's credits as a writer and director include CODA and listen, even when your heart is crying (British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust - winner at Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2015 and nominated as Best Documentary in the 2015 CINEDEAF Awards); and as an author her credits include, My Daughter and I. She previously ran the Deaf-led visual arts project, Salon, and was a panellist at WOW (Women of the World) Southbank Festival and the annual Women's Aid conference. She has also appeared as a keynote presenter at NHS Safeguarding's third annual Conference and the British Society of Mental Health and Deafness conference.

Nadia Nadarajah is an actor. Her credits for Deafinitely Theatre include Tanika's Journey and Invisible. Other theatre credits include A Christmas Carol (Leeds Playhouse), Midnight Movie (Royal CourtTheatre), As You Like It, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love's Labour's Lost (Shakespeare's Globe), Going Through (Bush Theatre), A Christmas Carol, Deafhood (Bristol Old Vic), Our Town, The House of Bernarda Alba (Royal Exchange Theatre), Untouchable (RADA Festival), Can I Start Again Please, Windibops (UK tours), Notre Dame (National Theatre), Grounded (Deafinitely Theatre/Park Theatre), Tyrannosaurus Drip (Stratford Circus), Girls and Dolls (Southwark Playhouse), I Believe in Unicorn (Brighton Festival) and We're Going on a Bear Hunt (Little Angel Theatre).

Lockdown Hairy

Written and performed by EJ Raymond

Directed by Paula Garfield

Lockdown Hairy presents the story of a deaf single parent faced with an unexpected opportunity to reflect on their life during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Charming, playful and surprising, this Talking Heads monologue gives a brave insight into parenting, accessibility and gender identity.

EJ Raymond is an actor, BSL promoter, BSL translator, writer/author and founder of Turtléar. Their work as an actor includes The Irish Giant, Rescuers Speaking, Mouth of Silence (Birds of Paradise Theatre Company), I Confess (The Arches Theatre Company) and Other (National Theatre of Scotland/Dundee Rep). As a writer and director they have written and directed The Studio and Smokin' Kill! They have written two novels, Dad's Basketball Girl and Every Father's Nightmare.

Paula Garfield is an actor, director, workshop leader and organiser and Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Deafinitely Theatre. Her directing credits for Deafinitely Theatre include Contractions (Winner - 2017 Offie Award for Best Production), Two Chairs, Motherland, Children of a Greater God, Playing God, Double Sentence and Gold Dust, and devising and directing The Boy and the Statue in collaboration with Tricycle Theatre. Her other directing credits include Love's Labour's Lost (Globe to Globe Festival, Shakespeare's Globe),

Tanika's Journey (Southwark Playhouse), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare's Globe) Something Else, Grounded (Park Theatre). Her television credits include Channel Four's Learn Sign Language, Four Fingers and a Thumb, BBC's Hands Up and Switch.


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