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Theatre Ad Infinitum and LIGHT for deaf and hearing audiences

Theatre Ad Infinitum LightTheatre Ad Infinitum will premiere yet another ambitious new work at the Edinburgh Fringe. Written and directed by Co-artistic Director George Mann, this is the company’s first dystopian sci-fi play – and its first experience of working with the talented Matty Gurney, comedic actor, improviser and devisor who is also profoundly deaf.

Inspired by George’s dream, the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden, and the debate surrounding state surveillance, Light brings to life a nightmarish future where the state is secretly watching citizens’ minds…

Excited by an encounter with Matty Gurney during a Research and Development session at The Bush Theatre, George took Light in a new and unexpected direction. Matty and George had a common understanding of physical storytelling – George through gesture and mime, Matty through physical performance skills, British Sign Language (BSL) and Visual Vernacular (VV) – a visual form of physical theatre using the entire body, iconic gestures and facial expression. George found Matty’s style funny, poetic, universal and very beautiful and he asked him to be a part of Light.

Says George; ‘Working with Matty has been an enriching experience. I realized how easy it was to assume that because some of our work is wordless and gestural, it is accessible to deaf people and British Sign Language users. I became aware that Matty ‘felt’ resonance and vibration in a way that I couldn’t and I used that awareness to experiment with Light’s soundtrack. We created sounds with deep-base frequencies to help tell the story and create ambience for all our audience. It’s something I’ll continue to tweak with sound designer and composer Chris Bartholomew and of course, Matty.’

Continues George; ‘We believed that two previous plays of ours – Odyssey and Translunar Paradise –were accessible to deaf audiences and were delighted at the positive comments we received. But of course the music, an integral part of the plays, could not be appreciated. Although we aim to make all our work universal, not all of it is accessible without the aid of an interpreter. So we began to think about the changes we could make, including experimentation with music and sound. It wasn’t enough to assume physical theatre could be appreciated to the full by our deaf audience members and we involved them in the research and development of Light.

Light is a human story which explores the horrors of state secrecy – all played out in darkness and fusing graphic novel and cinema-inspired sci-fi visuals with sound and physical storytelling. It’s also a rare beast – science fiction for stage.

Light is a co-commission with the London International Mime Festival and produced in association with Redbridge Drama Centre and The Lowry. It is supported by Arts Council England. The show will premiere at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it can be seen at the Pleasance King Dome at 5.15pm between 30 July and 25 August (excl 11 and 18 August). Tickets cost between £10 and £13.

Booking information: Venue: Pleasance King Dome. Dates: 30 July-25 August Time: 5.15pm Tickets: £10-£13 Box Office: 0131 556 6550
Online: http://www.pleasance.co.uk/
More company info: www.theatreadinfinitum.co.uk

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  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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