Cast and creative team announcement - People of the Eye

The DH Ensemble is excited to welcome Hermon Berhane (Manchester Royal Exchange) to the cast of People of the Eye. Hermon will be joining cast member and DH Ensemble artist Erin Siobhan Hutching (Bristol Old Vic, Northern Stage at Summerhall), and taking over a role developed by DH Ensemble artist Sophie Stone (Dr Who, Ramps On The Moon) and PAD Productions' Emily Howlett (Crucible Theatre, Inside Number 9).

People of the Eye is directed by DH Ensemble's Jennifer K. Bates (Crucible Theatre, Dundee Rep) with movement direction from Jennifer Fletcher (The Mostly Everything People), technical / production management from Rachel Sampley (Alice's Adventures Underground), and interpretation / production assistant on tour Rachael Merry (recent graduate, Reading University). Andrew Muir (Soho Theatre, Deafinitely Theatre) will rejoin the team as dramaturg.

For more information on the tour, click here.

Supported by Arts Council England. 

Hermon Berhane

Hermon Berhane

Erin Siobhan Hutching

Erin Siobhan Hutching

Interview by Michael Richardson

"Additionally, their approach is underpinned by an understanding of theory, the rigorous application of tried and tested practice and a willingness to experiment with new methods when existing practice is found lacking. I would go further to suggest that their success wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the unapologetic confidence in and enthusiasm for the work demonstrated by the lead artists."  

Michael Richardson

Read the full article here


British Sign Language Access at The Sick of the Fringe London

In February, we were honored to work with The Sick of the Fringe and Love Language Ltd to provide BSL access for a 3 day festival at the Wellcome Collection. 

Over 20 events were BSL interpreted, with artists including Le Gateau Chocolat, Daniel Oliver, Brigitte Aphrodite, Jess Thom and many more welcoming the opportunity to work with skilled theatrical sign language interpreters. 

Lynn Ruth Miller in The Fringe is Turning 70! Interpreted by Naomi Bottrill Image Manuel Vason

Lynn Ruth Miller in The Fringe is Turning 70! Interpreted by Naomi Bottrill Image Manuel Vason

BBC See Hear host Maab Adam attended the event, and wrote the following review:

When I heard about The Sick of the Fringe weekend festival in London I couldn't wait to go. I love to attend interesting and fun events like this, especially when there is BSL access to all the information (knowledge is power!) I hoped it would be interesting and that I'd get the chance to meet some new faces and enjoy watching, learning, reflecting, and participating through art, theatre and talks. I can truly say, I was not disappointed!

The festival was held near Euston, across four venues. The main venue was The Wellcome Collection. I went on the Saturday and when I looked at the brochure I found it hard to pick which events to see, as there were so many and some overlapped. I decided to go to an event called "We Are All Going to Die!". I was drawn to this because death is an inevitable part of everyone's life, and I was interested to know more about how people cope differently with the death of a loved one. It was really insightful. We were shown video clips of real-life deaths and people dying. A lot of people only ever see death hammed up for the camera in films and on TV, over the top and trivialised. Watching these videos and hearing the discussion over the real experience of death was eye opening, and felt human and connective. I recognised the interpreter at this event, Kam Deo, from his BSL news page on Facebook. He interpreted the event sensitively and clearly, and through this I was able to really be involved in what what going on.

I chose the next event based purely on it’s fantastic name - “I’ve Got A Problem With My Thingy”. I assumed (like many of you might too!) that it had to do with a man’s….private area. I convinced my friend to come along with me because I am interested in health and how bodies work (yes, that’s really why I wanted to go!) I was so confident in my assumption about the content of the performance that when the performer, Malachi, asked the audience what we thought the show was about, I raised my hand and said “Private parts!”

It turns out it wasn’t that at all. It was actually to do with not being able to find the right words to communicate what you want to say. I’ll admit, at first I was a little disappointed, but I did admire the clever marketing on his part to get us all to come along! However, I soon forgot that when I became caught up in the performer’s fascinating life story. Malachi grew up with a strong grasp on language, reading classic books and poetry, admired for his prowess when it came to expressing himself through speech or writing. However, after a bike accident in which he sustained a brain injury, he lost the ability to speak. He had to relearn how to communicate through spoken language.

As he told his story, I couldn’t help but think about the concept of “jinxing” - he had been so confident about and proud of his ability with language, it was almost like he had jinxed himself. I felt really sorry for him, but despite the loss of these skills, he is aware he is lucky to be alive after such a serious accident. It is brave of him to share his story so honestly. The interpreter, Darren Townsend-Handscomb, did justice to Malachi’s story and matched his delivery. They had a very good dynamic.

We had to rush out early - saying thank you to the lovely Malachi - in order to get to another venue to another performance called “Gutted”. Luckily it was very easy to get to Camden People’s Theatre from the Wellcome Collection - although we had trouble figuring out exactly where the entrance is to the theatre!

I met up with more of my friends and we saw the interpreter, Naomi Bottrill, ready for the performance. I had to ask some hearing people to move from the front row so that we could see Naomi’s interpretation easily. They were very accommodating and moved seats without any trouble at all. The atmosphere felt very inclusive and friendly.

“Gutted” was completely different to the two events we had been to previously. This performance was all about shit! And food! The performer, Liz Richardson, talked about her problems with her stomach and digestion, as she covered herself in a variety of sauces, and offered pieces of cake to the audience. She asked some members of the audience to get involved and read from a script with her on stage. The show was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, so strange and unique! I felt really connected to the performer because she really involved the audience.

Naomi interpreted this piece with immense skill and vigour, convey all the nitty-gritty details with enthusiasm and complimenting Liz’s performance with a visual display of what was being described. It was so compelling to watch!

Overall I really enjoyed the day at the festival, absorbing a lot of new information and interesting performances. Since then, I’ve been telling my friends all about what I learned! Some of them are very disappointed they couldn’t make it and hope to come with me next time. A big thank you to the theatre company The DH Ensemble who co-ordinated the Deaf access at the festival, and to Love Language who provided many of the BSL-English interpreters.

Daniel Oliver in Weird Seance. Interpreter Kyra Pollitt. Image by Manuel Vason.

Daniel Oliver in Weird Seance. Interpreter Kyra Pollitt. Image by Manuel Vason.

Starring Your Pain panel discussion interpreted by Kam Deo. Image by Manuel Vason.

Starring Your Pain panel discussion interpreted by Kam Deo. Image by Manuel Vason.

Front of House Volunteers Needed!!!

The Deaf and Hearing Ensemble are looking for volunteers for their upcoming performance of 'People of the Eye' as part of the NOW'16 Festival at The Yard Theatre. Duties include welcoming audience members, responding to enquiries and giving announcements. Volunteers must hold a minimum of Level Two in British Sign Language and be open and friendly!

Performance dates/times: 7-11th June, 7-11pm. However, you can do as many or as few as you wish. For more information and to apply please contact Emily or Rachael at with a short bio and some information about your interest in the role.

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Press Release - People of the Eye, The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble, The Yard Theatre NOW16 7-11 June


Press Release                                                       

The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble with Erin Siobhan Hutching present

People of the Eye at NOW’16 FESTIVAL The Yard Theatre

7th—11th June 7.30pm, in double bill with Ira Brand Break Yourself at 9pm

A personal story about parents, sisters and the love that binds families together created for Deaf and hearing audiences on an equal basis

(Download hi res images from Flickr:

Inspired by real events, this poignant new performance uses projections, sound, live performance and creative accessibility (BSL, spoken English and captioning) to tell the story of a family navigating their way through the Deaf world, focusing on memories, feelings of isolation and how we find the joy in difference.

People of the Eye tells the story of writer Erin Siobhan Hutching’s family, who had never met a deaf person before when her sister was diagnosed in 1983. Struggling to get a diagnosis from dubious doctors and then receiving conflicting advice from experts about whether to use sign language, the family had to find their own way through the Deaf world. Erin also drew on the experiences of others in the international Deaf community, particularly other Ensemble members, when writing the show.

Writer/performer Erin Siobhan Hutching, who co-starred in the 2013 UK tour of performance artist La JohnJoseph’s autobiographical “clusterfuck of sex, class, religion, gender, identity and ideology" Boy In A Dress, which inspired her to tell the story of her own unusual background, says:

“I wanted to create a piece which celebrates the beauty of sign language and Deaf culture, while not shying away from the complex idea of culture versus disability. It’s important to me to tell the story of both Deaf and hearing members of the family, and the contributions of the Deaf artists in the Ensemble have been invaluable in that respect. It’s a joyful, fun show, with lots of humour, but it tackles something we are all passionate about. We play with a mix of theatrical conventions including audience participation, physical theatre, direct address and video projections which visually represent sound, always striving to make accessibility part of the aesthetic instead of a tag-on. This is a show everyone can relate to in some way – the themes of childhood memories, sibling relationships and parental responsibility are universal.”

The Yard Theatre, voted #2 Theatre in London by Time Out readers, has chosen this piece out of over 200 hundred applications to perform in a double bill with award-winning theatre maker Ira Brand.

“Selected from hundreds of ideas received through open submissions, we’ve partnered five of the brightest new voices with five of the most inspiring and influential artists of today to form week long double-bills of daring and unapologetically new live performances.” The Yard Theatre

The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble encourage a shared experience for Deaf and hearing audiences. Formed in 2013, they are comprised of talented Deaf & Hearing artists, each with an equal voice. They were founded out of a week-long project with the Royal Shakespeare Company, looking at the relationship between Shakespeare’s language and Visual Vernacular/BSL, and has retained a strong relationship with the company. They were Forest Fringe Company in Residence in 2013 and performed at Forest Fringe and Northern Stage's Bloody Great Border Ballad Project, which won the Spirit of the Festival Award. They have performed at Pulse Festival, Forest Fringe, Shuffle Festival, Northern Stage and The Roundhouse. They were commissioned this year to create a new piece for Liberty Festival. This piece is being taken to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

People of the Eye is directed by Ensemble founder Jennifer K. Bates, who lead Solar Bear Theatre Company’s Deaf Youth Theatre for 4 years exploring this unique way of working and making theatre. Parts of the piece were devised with Ensemble member Sophie Stone, who has recently starred as Cass (a strong Deaf character) in two episodes of the TV series Doctor Who. Emily Howlett, founder of PAD Productions (Positive About Deafness), will perform alongside Erin Siobhan Hutching at The Yard.

Ensemble member Nadia Nadarajah, who was recently nominated for an Off-West End award, will provide support with movement and BSL. Award winning Deaf filmmaker Samuel Dore will be creating the video projections. The set is being designed by Wildworks Associate designer Myriddin Wannell.

People of the Eye is supported by The Yard Theatre and using public funding by Arts Council England.

This piece is accessible to D/deaf and hearing audiences through the use of British Sign Language, Spoken English and creative captioning.

Listings Information

7th-11th June at The Yard Theatre, Unit 2a Queen’s Yard, London E9 5EN

People of the Eye, The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble with Erin Siobhan Hutching, 7.30pm

Break Yourself, Ira Brand, 9pm

Tickets £12 for both shows (multi-buy prices available to attend two or more nights of the 5 week festival)

Available from  | @dh_ensemble| @people_oftheeye   | @erinsiobhanh| @YardTheatre

For further press enquiries, requests for tickets, interview or picture requests contact:

Erin Hutching, The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble -

Click to Download the PDF of this Press Release. For a Word version, please contact Erin on the details above.