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Watermill theatre hosts 4 deaf actors sharing monologues in BSL

Celebrate Sign Language Week online

A Watermill BSL signed performance
A Watermill BSL signed performance

On Thursday The Watermill is hosting an online performance called Signs of the Times, in which four deaf actors share monologues in BSL about the shifts in our culture.

Signs of the Times is a free event, but The Watermill welcomes donations if you can contribute.

If you are unfamiliar with BSL or if you are interested in a backstage insight ahead of the performance, there is an opportunity to enjoy a pre-show introduction to some of the signs you will see.

The workshop and performance will both be presented in BSL with a spoken English voiceover so Deaf and hearing audience members will all get the full experience.

The cast for Signs of the Times includes actors Nadia Nadarajah (As You Like It, Shakespeare’s Globe; A Christmas Carol, Bristol Old Vic), Ilan Dwek (Small World, BSL Zone), Fifi Garfield (Our Country’s Good, Ramps on the Moon) and Nadeem Islam (Horrible Histories: The Dreadful Deaf, Deafinitely Theatre). Watermill Theatre sign performers Ana Becker (A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Prince and The Pauper) and Fliss Becker (Macbeth, The Prince and the Pauper) will provide sign performance support.

Signs of the Times is directed by Director Jennifer K Bates from the DH Ensemble and stage managed by Harri McKenzie-Donovan. The Watermill are proud to partner with The DH Ensemble, a professional Deaf and hearing led theatre company, to celebrate Sign Language Week with this inclusive production.

Community Associate at The Watermill Lixi Chivas said: "We feel strongly that the next generation of Deaf theatre makers need to see their language on stage; after all, you can't be what you can't see! Throughout lockdown we haven't been able to offer our usual pioneering style of sign integrated performance, where the signing comes from a costumed on-stage sign performer at the heart of the action. We hope our Deaf audience enjoys this showcase of wonderful Deaf creative talent."

To extend the experience for our artists, creatives and audience members, there are two additional events for people to get involved with. If you are Deaf or use BSL, The Watermill host Deaf Theatre Lovers, an online chat to help shape what the theatre offers in the future. Whether you are happiest on stage, in the wings or in the audience, The Watermill would love to hear from you.

The conversation will be led by one of their Deaf facilitators with an interpreter on hand to support communication. Deaf Theatre Lovers will take place on Monday (March 22) at 11am – 12pm and participation is free.

If you are interested in using British Sign Language on stage, The Watermill’s online workshop, Sign Up, will give you an insight into the process of melding drama and British Sign Language together. Whether you are a beginner or expert in acting or signing, all are welcome. The workshop will be led in BSL by one of The Watermill’s Deaf facilitators with a spoken English voiceover throughout. The workshop will take place on Monday (March 22) at 5.30pm - 6.30pm. Sign Up is free but The Watermill welcomes donations if you can contribute.


Fifi Garfield

Nadeem Islam

Nadia Nadarajah

Ilwan Dwek

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