Meet: Deaf actor Stephen Collins, star of Graeae’s The Iron Man!

Posted on June 18, 2013

Tell us about The Iron Man, what’s the show about?

The show is about the unexpected arrival of the Iron Man who casts a shadow of fear across a small farm community. I mean, the Iron Man is taller than a double-decker bus which would frighten anybody!

He meets a boy called Hogarth who is the only one that can really understand him. But an enormous Space Bat threatens to destroy the world and it is the Iron Man who comes to the rescue. The show is based on the book by Ted Hughes and adapted for Graeae by Paul Sirett.

Graeae Theatre. "Iron Man"What can people expect to see?

People can expect to see puppetry including all 16 feet of the big man himself. The show also includes live and recorded soundscapes, a mixture of speech and sign language and it is very visual.  All performances are BSL interpreted and all the cast will be signing at various points in the show. It’s an outdoor performance and it is a lot of fun!

What’s your role in it?

I play the boy called Hogarth who becomes friends with the Iron Man. It’s really exciting and scary working with an iron puppet who is four times the my size.

You’ve acted in theatre and on film. What do you prefer?

I have done more work in theatre than film since I first started acting in 2010. I love doing both but my preference would probably be theatre because I love the rehearsals and the build up to the actual performance. You spend so much time exploring your character, working with other actors and the story itself. To see the story come alive from text to stage is a wonderful thing.

What’s the best thing about this show?

Without a doubt, it is the Iron Man. I have a lot of empathy with the Iron Man character because he is seen as someone who is different and the other characters don’t understand him. The story is really about accepting difference and finding ways to communicate, like Hogarth is able to communicate with the Iron Man. We also have a new set which I am really excited about. It has everything!

Any memorable incidents so far?

As part of the beginning of the show I operate one of the seagull puppets called Chas. It’s probably the most unpredictable moment for me because I never know what he is going to do next! I think it’s fair to say that Chas is a typical Graeae seagull.

2. Graeae_The Iron Man_Brighton_Image Credit Angie KleinAll performances of The Iron Man are free and people can come and see the show at:

Ip-arts Festival, Ipswich

Fri 21 – Sat 22 June 2013

Fri: 11am, 2pm & 7pm and Sat: 11am, 2pm & 5pm

SO Festival, Skegness

Sat 6 July 2013 1pm & 4pm

Open East Festival, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

27 – 28 July 2013  
Day tickets are £9.50 (£6 for children aged 5-16; under 5s go free)

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