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A Midsummer Night’s Dream in British Sign Language - Shakespeare's Globe

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DEAFINITELY Theatre is returning to Skakespeare’s Globe to perform a brand new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in British Sign Language (with scene synopsis in English) – from June 2 to June 7, 2014.

Directed by Paula Garfield, designed by Paul Burgess and composed by Philippa Herrick, this new interpretation of Shakespeare’s comedy promises to be physically compelling and glitteringly inventive.

Deafinitely Theatre proved popular on Bankside when they first performed at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2012 with their production of Love’s Labour’s Lost – the first ever full length Shakespeare play performed in British Sign Language. The production was part of the Globe to Globe Festival which saw all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays performed in 37 languages.

Paula Garfield, who co-directed Love’s Labour’s Lost and director of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, said:

“We all, including all of the actors, felt so privileged to be invited back. The deaf community, both in England and internationally, are so excited about it. It’s a huge boost to our culture and our language. This is something that says we are of value. Someone said to me summer feels more positive already because of this forthcoming production.”

The cast comprises Alim Jayda (as Puck), Ace Mahbaz (Theseus/Oberon), Nadia Nadarajah (Hippolyta/Titania), Anna-Maria Nabirye (Fairy), Adam Bassett (Lysander), Fifi Garfield (Hermia), Lee Robertson (Demetrius), Charlotte Arrowsmith (Helena), David Sands (Bottom), Ralph Bogard (Peter Quince) and Jason Taylor (Francis Flute).

Established in 2002, Deafinitely Theatre is an independent, professional company led by Deaf people with an aim to build a bridge between Deaf and hearing worlds by performing to both groups as one audience. Funded by Arts Council England, they create productions in British Sign Language (BSL) and English, which can be understood by everyone, and yet retain BSL as the leading language.

As well as presenting work by canonical writers, Deafinitely aims for untold stories from the Deaf community to be performed on the stage and encourages deaf people to create their own plays through an annual playwriting competition. The company have performed at the Soho Theatre, the Tricycle, Southwark Playhouse and Stratford Circus.

Times: June 2 at 7.30pm; June 3 at 2pm; June 6 at 7.30pm; June 7 at 2pm.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Story Day (ages 6+) – Saturday, May 31 at 11am and 2pm.

Globe Education and Deafinitely Theatre offer young audiences the chance to experience the magic of the stories being told on the Globe stage, accessible to both deaf and hearing audiences. Tickets: £15 (1 Child and 1 Adult); additional tickets £8 each.

Shakespeare Found in Translation – Friday, June 6 from 6pm to 7pm.

Members of the creative team share insights into the process of translation in the Nancy Knowles Lecture Theatre. Tickets are free but must be booked at the box office.

To book, call the box office on +44 (0) 20 7401 9919, visit www.shakespearesglobe.com/ or in person at the box office – Monday to Saturday, 10am-6pm (8pm on performance days); Sundays, 10am-5pm (7pm on performance days).