Deaf News: New National Theatre play In Touch to tell the real stories of deaf, deafblind and visually impaired people

Posted on July 25, 2017

A new National Theatre play called In Touch is set to tell the real stories of people who are deafblind, blind, visually impaired, D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, sighted and hearing, told through an eclectic style of spoken, signed and physical theatre.

It will be shown on Saturday 14 October, at 5pm and 8pm, and tickets are already on sale (click here for more information, and see more access information below at the end of this article).

The show, made in association with Graeae Theatre Company, Sense, the British Council and the National Theatre, will explore the emotional rollercoaster of being human, how we each navigate our lives and what happens when different worlds collide and unite.

In Touch is part of a long-term project between Inclusion Theatre Company and the Theatre of Nations, using the arts to connect people who are deafblind, sighted and hearing in different spaces.

The original production, Touch-Ables, based on the real stories of the actors and their interactions with the world and the diaries of two women that are deafblind from 20th Century Russia, had its premiere in 2015 in Russia.

The show was shown on leading stages in Moscow and St Petersburg, and was nominated for the prestigious Russian ‘Golden Mask’ Theatre Award.

Viktoria Avdeeva, Producer of Touch-Ables, said:

“The original play Touch-ables was created to raise awareness in Russia about people who are deafblind. Deafblind people are some of the least visible and least involved in professional and cultural activity, not just in Russia but everywhere. The production not only was an opportunity for actors that are deafblind to tell their story, it influenced the development of inclusive theatre in Russia for the better. I am excited to bring this production to the UK, further exploring the very nature of communication, through and beyond different cultures and languages.”

For this staging at the NT, Jenny Sealey will work with the company to develop the original production with actors who have sensory impairments from the original Russian show, plus British and French performers who are deafblind, sighted and hearing.

Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director Graeaesaid:

“I feel very privileged to be able to work with this extraordinary ensemble of actors, developing their show, embracing new stories, not least those from UK deafblind actors. I’m really excited to be part of this collaboration where diverse communication is the foundation of everything. It’s also a wonderful new challenge for Graeae, to further understand the complexity of deafblind sign language in particular, and how this can be embedded within a theatrical narrative. It’s always wonderful to be back at the National.”

Inclusion Theatre Company is a part of Deafblind Support Fund Connection.

Please note: The production will be captioned and will include surtitles as it is performed in Russian, French and English. The show will also be audio described and British Sign Language interpreted.

For more information about the play, click here.

TICKETS: For anyone with access requirements, please subscribe to the NT’s Access List, which will allow you to select your own seats when booking online, or call Box Office on 020 7452 3000 or email

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