Withered Optimism

Despite the challenges the pandemic has thrown at the theatre sector, Cambridgeshire-based theatre company – ofthejackel – has become talk-of-the town by creating new collaborations between emerging D/deaf and hearing creatives to produce a hilarious, touching – and at times shocking – new touring production accessible to adults diverse in language and hearing ability.

The performance also presents a different form of collaboration: a groundbreaking blend of solo mime virtuosity, intricately and intelligently woven with Visual Vernacular (VV), an artistic storytelling technique form developed by the D/deaf community. The production represents a collaboration between a number of incredibly talented artists, amongst them Jack Kelly, a hearing performer trained at the prestigious Parisian theatre school Jacques Lecoq, and award-winning deaf performer Brian Duffy.

The performance was due to perform a highly-anticipated run at the Vaults Festival 2022, however, with the cancellation of the whole festival, the production company are seeing extra challenges presented to an already hard road for fringe theatre, the bedrock of  innovative British performance. However, despite this, the show – published online in video form – has been seen by a much wider audience demographic, also thanks to its wordless, accessible format, reaching people as far afield as Chile and Argentina.

Their production, Withered Optimism, has now been nominated for an OffWestEnd Award.

Catch it at The EA (Electric Arcade) Brighton 18:30. 27th, 28th & 29th May 2022.

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