This August The Deaf and Hearing Ensemble will be performing their first full production, People Of The Eye as part of the Northern Stage Programme at Summerhall. In addition they have teamed up with Fringe Central to provide a number of workshops exploring the process of developing new work with D/deaf and hearing artists.

The play is written by Erin Siobhan Hutching, inspired by real events, Erin draws on her personal experience growing up with her deaf sister. The role is played by well-known actress Emily Howlett. The story is about a family finding their way through the Deaf world, discovering sign language and a sense of self-identity. For this reason the plays director, Jennifer K Bates, believes that everyone will be able to relate to the themes of the piece.

“The play deals with universal themes and topics such as the responsibility of being a parent, siblings, feeling like you are the ‘odd one out’ and discovering the joy in difference”.

Audiences will also have the opportunity of experiencing how the theatre company develops a project during a number of interactive workshops. Participants, will experience, “Process and Play”, “Creating Autobiographical Theatre” using The DH Ensemble’s trademark tools of improvisation and working with both BSL and spoken English. Jen explains, “the workshops are about inviting participants into our process. Discussing how we develop material with a focus on creating truthful stories that come from us and our experiences. They will also be a lot of fun.”

As a company that believes that instead of “boundaries” between D/deaf and hearing performers there are only opportunities, it is not surprising to discover that, “accessibility is in our DNA and built in from the word go”. People of The Eye will include BSL, spoken English and creative captioning as well as visual story telling and video images.

I asked Jennifer what we should expect, “an honest, fast paced, energetic, stimulating performance that may surprise you and make you approach life with a different perspective.”

This play would appear to be only the first step on a long journey for The Deaf and Hearing Ensemble and I would not be surprised to find them touring internationally and performing to audiences all over the world.

People of the Eye

@summerhall (Venue 26c)

6 -27th August (not Wednesday), 1pm