London’s other rivers

London’s other rivers

The capital has been shaped by its natural waterways, as a new exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands reveals

TAITMAIL    You couldn’t sing an aria about it

TAITMAIL You couldn’t sing an aria about it

Someone HAS to write an opera about opera. Better, a soap opera. Sex, death, plot lurches, vast personalities and gorgeous costumes, it's all there.

Into the woods for Grange Park Opera

Into the woods for Grange Park Opera

There are two Grange opera festivals this summer, based at two different country houses in Hampshire and Surrey, both created by the conductor Wasfi Kani. Simon Tait visited the newest

MY STORY    Helping artists to value themselves

MY STORY Helping artists to value themselves

Jerwood Arts’ new director, Lilli Geissendorfer, has introduced three new funds to the charity’s operations, and for one is announcing bursary beneficiaries whose careers could be shaped by them

Heritage high streets get £62m boost

Heritage high streets get £62m boost

High street buildings are to be turned into creative spaces thanks to a new £62m government fund, the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport has announced.

Hogarth, the noisy painter

Hogarth, the noisy painter

A new exhibition at the Foundling Museum takes a single painting of 18th century life as its subject

First affordable CEZ artists’ studios open

First affordable CEZ artists’ studios open

Eighty-five affordable artists’ studios have opened in Deptford, South London, as part of the Mayor of London’s Creative Enterprise Zone scheme.

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE  Dancing into the big top

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE Dancing into the big top

Clare Limb, head of dance development & learning for Déda, the Derby-based dance and outdoor performance development agency, on bringing dance and contemporary circus together in learning and participation

Plymouth to reopen Elizabethan House museum

Plymouth to reopen Elizabethan House museum

£2m restoration will finish in 2020

Lottery support for Northern arts organisations

Lottery support for Northern arts organisations

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is backing a new scheme, to be run by Creative United, help cultural organisations in the North with business advice.

Fears over Brexit fuel art exports to EU

Fears over Brexit fuel art exports to EU

The value of art, collectors' pieces and antiques exported from the UK rose to a three year high of £5.4bn in 2018, up from £5.1bn in 2017.

AI PROFILE   Cynthia Corbett and living with art

AI PROFILE Cynthia Corbett and living with art

The Cynthia Corbett Gallery is in a former 1860s convent in a leafy corner of Wimbledon, not the kind of venue you would expect to be a nurturing place for artistic talent.

Peter Hall’s theatre facing closure

Peter Hall’s theatre facing closure

Kingston Council’s withdrawal of funding may see the closure of the Rose Theatre, created by Sir Peter Hall and opened in 2008.

 The Rose 30 years on: how it was saved

The Rose 30 years on: how it was saved

It was on a barmy early summer Sunday afternoon in 1989, exactly 30 years ago, when the Rose Theatre was saved. Simon Tait was there

Export block on judge’s Chatterley copy

Export block on judge’s Chatterley copy

The government has put a temporary block on the copy of D H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover used by the judge at the novel’s obscenity trial in 1960 – perhaps the most famous Old Bailey trial of the 20th century - complete with his wife’s annotations.

Cabaret’s automata delight returns to London

Cabaret’s automata delight returns to London

The automota show Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, for 15 years a feature of Covent Garden, has a new show in London with the artist Paul Spooner – thanks to the inspiration it gave a teenage visitor

Armitage the new Poet Laureate

Armitage the new Poet Laureate

Simon Armitage has been appointed the new Poet Laureate, following an unexpectedly troubled search for Dame Carol Ann Duffy’s successor.

THE WORD Where are non-western artists in contemporary galleries?

THE WORD Where are non-western artists in contemporary galleries?

Faiza Butt is a Pakistani artist whose work is held in private and public collections including the British Museum and the Kiran Nadar Museum, Delhi

Wales consider arts for core subject

Wales consider arts for core subject

Arts subjects could become a core class for Welsh school children if a proposed new curriculum is put in place.

Bristol's Bricks aim to reclaim police station for the arts

Bristol's Bricks aim to reclaim police station for the arts

Bristol's arts charity Bricks are hoping to create a new arts hub in one of the city's old police station.

Arts Council Northern Ireland pays executive £12k in discrimination case

Arts Council Northern Ireland pays executive £12k in discrimination case

Arts Council Northern Ireland has paid £12,000 to its chief executive Roisin McDonough after settling an age discrimination case.

The David Parr House: Cambridge's Arts & Crafts home opens to the public

The David Parr House: Cambridge's Arts & Crafts home opens to the public

The David Parr House, the Cambridge home of William Morris' Arts & Crafts collaborator, is to open to the public.

Saatchi Gallery covers artworks after complaints from Muslim visitors

Saatchi Gallery covers artworks after complaints from Muslim visitors

The Saatchi Gallery in West London has taken the decision to cover up works by artists SKU that feature an Islamic declaration of faith, following complaints from Muslim visitors that they are blasphemous.

Anthony Caro: Seven Decades @ Annely Juda Fine Art - REVIEW

Anthony Caro: Seven Decades @ Annely Juda Fine Art - REVIEW

In our new review feature Adam Anderson considers the unending story of Britain's game-changing sculptor, Anthony Caro. 

My Story: Sign of the times

 

Deafinitely Theatre was founded 14 years ago to be a showcase for deaf talent, for hearing as well as deaf audiences. its artistic director is the actor and director Paula Garfield, who is herself deaf

What inspired you to create Deafinitely Theatre?
I was a freelance actor for ten years, working in community theatre, repertoire theatre and theatre in education. This was a great experience, but I felt there was lack of deaf-led theatre and empowerment for deaf actors. I wanted to create more opportunities and work for deaf people, without having to explain what deaf actors need; it would be provided for deaf actors automatically.

What do you feel it offers to the theatre community?
For the last 20 years, the number of deaf clubs has declined, leaving the deaf community with fewer places to go. I remember growing up watching drama competitions and performances within the deaf clubs. There have also been closures of deaf schools. Deafinitely Theatre doesn’t only provide signed performance and theatre, but is also a social event. The deaf community sees sign language as the centre of the stage.

Part of the company’s characteristic is that all performances are presented in British Sign Language (BSL). Is the understanding of BSL more widespread now than it was, and how do you avoid it interfering with the narrative of a drama?

Deaf directors don’t have the same privilege as hearing directors. This is because we have to think about creating something that is accessible to both deaf and hearing audiences. I want to build a bridge for the two audiences to enjoy the theatre together. 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents so I want to create something that the whole family can experience and enjoy. The understanding of BSL has improved over the years; it is more widespread as people are exposed to it through social media, e.g. Facebook and Twitter.

When devising a performance I have to think about accessibility for the hearing audience. When I choose a script I have to find one that I feel will adapt to BSL. It is difficult because you have to respect the writer, so I always work in a way that the hearing actor will fully voice the script and the deaf actor will sign in BSL. That way nothing is lost from the original script. Alternatively sometimes we use BSL with additional captions, so that again nothing is lost from the script.

How are you funded?

We are an NPO (national portfolio organisation). Our core funding is from the Arts Council, and we rely on individual trusts for some projects.

Is there enough official support for deaf performers, and how would you like to see it changed?
There is no training for deaf actors. Some deaf people do attend drama school, but that means that the person has to adapt to fit in. There are no specialised courses for deaf actors on how to translate material into BSL or VV (visual vernacular), or how to use sign language on the stage.

Where does you material come from – is it all original or do you also adapt existing work for your stage?

In our early work we devised from deaf stories; however, the problem with this is the difficulty in selling the play to an audience. A well-known writer and well-known play is much easier to sell. It was
a pleasure to do our early devised works, but now that we’re trying to breakthrough into mainstream theatre we have to choose more well- known scripts. Like I said earlier, we aim to keep the original meaning
of the scripts, but adapt to make it accessible with BSL.

How many productions do you present in a year?
We do one children’s production, one youth production and one main production per year.

You are based at Diorama Arts near Regents Park in London. Does this give you a public auditorium, and do you tour to other venues? 

We use Diorama Arts as an office space and rehearsal base, but we hire venues, mostly in London, for a production run. We are planning to start touring in a few years’ time.

Has the audience changed since you founded the company in 2002?
Back in the early days most of the audience were members of the deaf community, and for the last few years the number of deaf people in the audience has slightly decreased while the number of hearing people attending has increased. As a deaf director it is important for me to evaluate why this is happening and why the number of deaf people attending is less. It could be that the increase in ticket prices means people cannot afford to attend. I have noticed that it is a more educated middle class group of deaf people attending the shows. It is my aim to reach out to the grassroots deaf community - the theatre location and venue affects the audience, and for some it is too far or difficult to access.

What are your plans for 2016, and what is your next production?
We are planning to have our main production in the autumn of 2016. We have a youth production at the Tricycle Theatre as part of National Theatre Connections - we are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping to be chosen to perform at the National Theatre.

 

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