Two members of Handprint Theatre in a rehearsal room, pointing upwards

Handprint Theatre on their residency

| Fri 18 May 2018

Nadeem Islam of Handprint Theatre tells us all about their residency in the Creation Space (Mon 14 - Fri 18 May). Because the residency coincides with Deaf Awareness Week, we filmed a vlog in British Sign Language (captioned). Click here or on the window below to watch the video.

Transcript of the video:

Can you tell us a bit about Handprint Theatre?

My name is Nadeem, and I work with Handprint Theatre. So who are Handprint Theatre? It was set up by two people who feel that theatre should be integrated for deaf and hearing, and to make accessible for both deaf and hearing people. We wanted to create a story that isn't just about deaf children feeling left out. Handprint Theatre's aim is to make all of their work accessible and integrated, everybody working together, whether you're deaf or you're hearing.

How would you describe the work that you create?

Handprint Theatre explore completely different ways of communicating. Maybe through voice, or through sign language, maybe through mime, puppetry, music or different lights, projection, all different ways: Really exploring ways to make things come alive for the audience and give them access, give them plenty to imagine, for people to think, "Wow, I really understand that, that's incredible." It's for both communities. So even if you don't have one particular language, or you do have some language: It's just about exploring different ways, playing with language and communication for the audience.

What are you working on in your artsdepot residency?

This week at artsdepot, we've been exploring a book called Moonbird. It was written by a lady called Joyce Dunbar and she herself is hard of hearing. She was working with the deaf community and seeing how they sign. And then she thought, "Oh, some people don't sign, they're forced to speak and trying to speak through oral." So she wrote this story, this really beautiful story about a character called Orla, who is growing up deaf and he can't speak, he doesn't sign. His parents don't quite accept that he's deaf. Orla feels really lonely until he meets a new friend called a moonbird. This moonbird brings him to a most magical and wonderful place where he finds his identity and starts to learns who he is, and he learns that through the journey. But I won't tell you the exact ending of the story because that would ruin the story.

What elements of the project are you developing while you're here?

We've been exploring different areas of signed theatre and puppetry. We've been thinking how we can use our props and our set, especially using it in this amazing space. So we've been trying to take these images from the book and bringing them out and making them bigger. We've been exploring this week how we can make it accessible; how we can make it smoother so the audience fully understand. It's been fantastic to use the space.

What's the most useful thing to have with you in the rehearsal space?

The most useful thing this week has just been the space. Because although we're a small team, we do need a big amount of space so we can run around and explore. And I find that as I'm using the space, you can use more, you can do more about sign mime. This place allowing us to share things is really useful. Before, we just had a script, and now we can take the script away to find ways we can do movement. It's just really useful to have space to move, where we can create some energy - and to use our props, with our book very much leading us. But also, the office have given us tea and that helps, so that's very useful!

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