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Deaf and Hearing Ensemble to bring visual theatre show to Pakefield theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:07 31 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:07 31 October 2017

People of the Eye will be on stage at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield. Picture: David Monteith-Hodge.

People of the Eye will be on stage at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield. Picture: David Monteith-Hodge.

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The Deaf and Hearing (DH) Ensemble will be bringing their inclusive, visual theatre show to Pakefield’s Seagull Theatre this month.

After a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe as part of Northern Stage’s programme at Summerhall in 2016, The DH Ensemble is taking its show People of the Eye on tour, kicking off at the Battersea Arts Centre in London in October.

Writer and performer Erin Siobhan Hutching grew up with a deaf sister and so has been communicating with sign language all her life. When her sister Sarah was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at the age of 18 months, doctors told her parents not to use sign language as they believed it would impair her ability to learn speech. This advice, commonly given to hearing parents of deaf children in the 80s and even today, has been refuted by many studies demonstrating the benefits of being bilingual.

With People of the Eye, Erin has created a story about a family navigating their way through the deaf world based on her own experiences, incorporating sound, visual projections, mime, creative accessibility and real-life home movies of her family.

People of the Eye aims to be accessible to both D/deaf, hard of hearing and hearing audiences, weaving accessibility into the core of the storytelling through choreography, sound design and videography.

Director Jennifer Bates said: “A huge part of our ethos is that each artist has an equal voice in the rehearsal room and that the performances themselves provide an equal experiences for D/deaf and hearing audiences. In our work, we like to play with the forms of access that we use. Theatre is communication. People are communication. It makes perfect sense for us to mix it all up and play with it on different levels.”

The show has been developed over three years with a series of different actors and currently stars deaf Eritrean actress Hermi Berhane alongside Erin, known for her style and fashion blog BeingHer.com

Erin said: “I am honoured to tell this story of my family’s discovery of a language, a people and culture.”

People of The Eye will be on stage at the Seagull Theatre on Thursday, November 16 at 7.30pm.

To book tickets visit www.theseagull.co.uk/event/people-of-the-eye/

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