Lianne Herbert: What it was like to have a rehearsed reading of my new play with Deafinitely Theatre

Posted on June 13, 2016

I’ve just come back from a rehearsed reading of my first full-length play TwentyFortySeven. I can honestly say I’m buzzing!

Deafinitely Theatre provided me the wonderful opportunity to work with director Charlie Westenra and actors Thomas Coombes, Clare L English, Alex Nowak and Matt Kyle.

They were fantastic and were able to breathe life into the play. It took two years to write the play. I had help of dramaturgist Andrew Muir and his crucial feedback for the first polished draft.

It was a new experience for me as I was able to hear and see how the play could work in production. Things I wasn’t able to hear and see in the confines of my own writers’ space were things like an Irish accent or how the script would be translated into British Sign Language and Sign Supported English.

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As BSL is not my first language I am still learning. I hope in the future to complete my Signature BSL Level three exam. I currently have BSL Level two done. This will enable me to have a clearer idea of translation. However, during the rehearsals Paula Garfield was able to give artistic feedback on the sign language used.

I am grateful that the invited audience were kept hooked at New Diorama Theatre where it was a hot summers day and no air conditioning was available. The actors overcame this challenge with their electrifying performances.

Some of you will already know that TwentyFortySeven is a continuation of a short play that I had performed in 2012 at RADA Studios through Deafinitely Theatre’s 4Play production, which Caroline Parker MBE directed.

It has changed. It has changed a lot! But the main characters are still there. Ruth, Dan and the Government Official Person, GOP. A new character has been added in the full-length version where a Deaf government are still in control.

The feedback from the audience was amazing and positive. They can all see potential of it going further and questioned me on the future of the play through the short Q&A we had afterwards!

My next steps for the play are to let the experience sink in, create new drafts and have it performed at the West End. Yes I dare to dream big!

Lianne Herbert won a place on the ‘Deafinitely Theatre Creative Competition 2011’.  Since then she has written two short plays called ‘TwentyFortySeven’ and ‘The Door’ which both have been performed at RADA Studios and The Park Theatre. Lianne is currently working on her debut novella with a working title of ‘That Weird Deaf Girl Over There.’

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