Brighton Festival 2013

Accessible performances for Deaf people

By John Walker

The Brighton Festival takes place from 4th to 26th May at various locations across Brighton and Hove city. The Guest Director for this festival is Michael Rosen, who is famous for poetry with simplistic lines and complex meanings. He has chosen the 1930s German Arts scene as the theme for this year's festival, which is close to Michael's work.

This year, the organisers of the festival have chosen selected different performances to be interpreted and also highlighted the shows that are visual (ie. no spoken dialogue). All of these accessible shows have been labelled accordingly in the festival catalogue.

At the bottom of this section, please find the film of a poem by Michael Rosen. You will find one line was translated into BSL by yours truly, John Walker!


Accessible, without words and highly visual, 6th to 7th May, different times

Cirque Éloize dives into a vibrant imaginary world, in the UK premiere of their latest circus spectacular, Cirkopolis. Pushing the boundaries of visual and audio innovation, the company takes us into an industrial yet fanciful world inspired by the rich visual legacy of the classic films Metropolis and Brazil.

Awash with humour, Cirkopolis is a place where dance, circus and theatre meet. It’s a universe in which reality is challenged by fantasy in the pursuit of our true place in the world. Fleeing a life ruled by boredom and monotony, acrobats, aerialists, versatile artists, and spectators alike, are plunged into true audio and visual vertigo.

The Bear

Interpreted performance on 14th May 2013, 7.30pm, age 14+

This is the story of a murder. 

‘I didn’t do it’, says the suspect. ‘It was the bear.’ He’s obviously lying. Or mad. But as solicitor’s clerk Angela starts asking questions, looking through the evidence, there it is again: the bear. Without quite knowing how, Angela finds herself hunting the bear. Until she discovers the bear is hunting her…

This tale of everyday murder and a mythic bear is a playfully surreal take on the film noir tradition. Drawing on her own experience as a solicitor’s clerk, Angela Clerkin weaves a dark and quirky tale in the tradition of the hard-boiled detective fiction of the 1940s.

Knee Deep

Accessible, without words and highly visual, 14th to 16th May, different times.

Four performers explore the boundaries of strength and tenderness. Bodies are pushed and pulled, weighed and tested, probing the limits of both physicality and feeling. As unlikely bonds are forged and space is transcended by thrilling physical feats, we are invited to re- imagine notions of our limitations.

Casus features two members of Circa – a huge hit of Brighton Festival 2011. Knee Deep is their first production, a bold, quirky and captivating performance that has blown audiences away throughout Australia and at Edinburgh last year. Using traditional and contemporary circus techniques, this intimate show journeys through moments of raw discovery and fleeting relationships as the four artists demonstrate that delicacy need not equate to fragility.

Knee Deep is a breathtaking display of humanity and incredible physical skill performed with raw emotion and honesty.

The Kite Runner

Interpreted performance on 24th May, 7.30pm

‘For you, a thousand times over.’

In a divided country on the verge of war, childhood friends Amir and Hassan are about to be torn apart. As the skies above Kabul fill with the excitement and joy of a kite-flying tournament, neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon — an event that will shape their lives into a web of betrayal, guilt and reconciliation.

Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner is one of the best-loved novels of recent years. This eagerly awaited stage adaptation is a deeply moving contemplation of the price of loyalty, the possibility of redemption in a land facing destruction and, above all, the bond of a friendship that spans cultures and continents.

My Life After

Performance in Spanish with English subtitles, 24 to 26 May, different times.

In My Life After six Argentinian actors born in the 70s and early 80s reconstruct their parents youth from photos, letters, tapes, clothes, stories and dim memories. 

Who were my parents when was I born? What was Argentina like before I learned to speak? How many versions are there about what happened before I existed or when I was so young that I can’t remember?

Each actor reconstructs scenes from the past in order to understand something from their future. As if they were their parents’ stunt doubles, each actor recreates dimly remembered, half-understood scenes from the past. 

Both playful and political, the explorations of My Life After reveal complexity and darker secrets alongside the joy and humour of lives recovered.

Video of a Michael Rosen poem promoting the festival

We Are Going On A Bear Hunt

A poem by Michael Rosen

This page was added on 16/04/2013.

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