“It’s the first time I’ve performed in my home town.” Deaf actor Matty Gurney tells us about taking ‘Light’ on tour

Posted on January 19, 2015

What’s the play about?

Light is set in a future world where a totalitarian regime monitors the thoughts of its citizens through implants.

It tells the story of a young government agent whose job is to hunt down ‘terrorists’ who try to illegally disconnect their implants.

I can’t say too much but he ends up encountering an unexpected figure from the past. It’s performed in the dark, lit by torches and LED strip lights.

What’s the difference between performing with a hearing cast and working with Deaf actors?

Deaf actors: I know them too well as they are my friends too, and like family, we know one another’s strengths and weaknesses.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.22.18Hearies: it’s like going to a new ‘hearing’ school where no one is able to sign.

To begin with, I didn’t know them that well, but we slowly became friends and now we all share jokes and help each other out during improvisation tasks, especially working in the dark!

The only big difference I have experienced is that hearing actors rely on sound cues and being able to hear each other in dark.

I struggled with that at first but in the end I got used to the environment, and we found new ways to cue using light, or poking each other. I have also had to learn lipreading for some scenes that involve talking and gesture.

Luckily, Theatre Ad Infinitum is a physical theatre company so they all are interested in gesture anyway, which makes it easier for me to pick up what other company members are saying. That’s why the show’s very accessible to deaf audiences, as you will see if you watch the show!

What was it like performing in Edinburgh?

It’s always amazing. I’ve actually performed there four times, but with LIGHT, I stayed up there for month which showed me the festival in a different light.

I learnt a lot about acting from watching the shows and also how to cope with being in a hearing environment for long periods of time on my own, which will be useful for the future.

Thankfully my friends came to stay with me for a few days… Acting’s not an easy life and it’s not about fame and luxury, its hard work, believe me!

Are you excited about the upcoming tour?

I have mixed feelings about touring, but I’m sure all actors feel the same. It’s nice to work in different theatres but it takes you away from home for long periods of time to unknown places.

The best thing about this tour is that we’re going to perform at The North Wall in, Oxford. It will be the first time I’ve ever performed in my home town.

I’m looking forward to tucking into mummy’s grub instead of hotel foods while we’re there, and it will be great to see my friends. I’ll be happy to stay and chat after the show to any deaf people who come and watch!

Read our writer Donna Williams’s review of Light by clicking here.

Check below for dates and contact details to see Light on tour around the UK:

20-24 Jan The Pit, Barbican Centre, London
Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS
7.45pm | £18 + booking fee
www.barbican.org.uk | 020 7638 8891

27 Jan The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University
Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 4QP
7.30pm | £10 (£8 concs, £5 EHU students)
www.edgehill.ac.uk/artscentre | 01695 584480

28-29 Jan The North Wall, Oxford
South Parade Oxford, OX2 7JN
8pm | £15-£12 + booking fee
www.thenorthwall.com | 01865 319450

2 Feb Royal & Derngate, Northampton
Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1DP
19.30 | £11-£16
www.royalandderngate.co.uk | 01604 624811

3 Feb The Core at Corby Cube
George St, Corby, NN17 1QG
7.30pm | £12.50 -£8.50
www.thecorbycore.com | 01536 470470

4-5 Feb The Lowry Studio, Salford
Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ
8pm | £14
www.thelowry.com | 0843 208 6000

6 Feb Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead
Altwood Road, Maidenhead SL6 4PF
7.30pm | £12 (£10 concs, £9 Supporters)
www.nordenfarm.org | 01628 788997

10-11 Feb Liverpool Unity Theatre
1 Hope Place, Liverpool, L1 9BG
8pm | £12-£14
www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk | 0151 709 4988

12-14 Feb Bristol Old Vic Studio
King Street, Bristol BS1 4ED
8pm | £12
www.bristololdvic.org.uk | 0117 987 7877

16 Feb King George’s Hall, Blackburn
Northgate, Blackburn, BB2 1AA
8pm | £10-£8
www.kinggeorgeshall.com | 01254 582579

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