Hermon Berhane: Why I’m excited about touring inclusive theatre

Posted on April 14, 2017

Taking Flight is a theatre company creating inclusive theatre for mainstream stage, and all their productions are accessible for audience and performers.

There are greater opportunities for D/deaf and HOH actors, because unlike many companies they are not afraid of casting D/deaf and HOH for fear of the burden and expense of communication.

Theatre is so important for Deaf communities because theatre inspired us, but how can deaf people be inspired by the theatre if we can’t look at the stage?

How can we be inspired if we feel like we can’t be part of it?

Theatre brings people together, educating and influencing the way we think and feel about our own lives and encourages us to take a hard look at ourselves, our values and our behavior.

One week after my final show of ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ with Graeae, I had a look at the ‘You’ve got Dragons’ script and went to the first day of rehearsal.

It is so different because it’s a family show, I’d never thought I’d play a dragon before we had done our research and development last year.

In rehearsal, we explored being dragons, thankfully Taking Flight invited an expert VV Brian Duffy to help us with the portrayal of the dragon, the cityscape, school journey and flying in a visual way.

Check out the BSL flyer for the show here:

We used his ideas in the play; I had to perform using physical movement, VV, gesture and BSL. I learnt a lot of things which were incredible.

I’ve interpreted the whole play to BSL and mostly role shift with the cast and of course, they all shared sign language and established audio descriptive.

I thoroughly enjoyed the play and loved working with cast and creatives team and there were two interpreters for 17 days of rehearsals, however from my perspective, I was really disappointed when they weren’t able to provide a BSL interpreter for one day because there had been a breakdown in communication; it was additional day of rehearsal and there were no interpreters available, the company know this is not acceptable and they were supportive and provided one to one rehearsal.

The play is accessible and inclusive – visual, live music, AD, BSL and creative animated caption (yes I love it) for young and family audiences.

It is Taking Flight’s unique style. It is their first tour to indoor venues across Wales and England. The play is about Ben’s journey, her dragons follow her everywhere and she thinks she is only who gets dragons but she soon realises that everyone has dragons and learns to face her anxieties – ‘no dragon is powerful than you.’

It’s a really entertaining show and shows that it is really important for families with children to talk about their feelings.

Find out more about Taking Flight here and about You’ve Got Dragons here.

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Posted in: Hermon Berhane