Students from the UK’s only performance degree for deaf actors challenge perceptions and celebrate diversity in a dynamic new touring production

Published: October 30, 2017


Love and Information tours Scotland November 14 – 23

They are the actors breaking down barriers in Scottish theatre. The first cohort of students from the UK’s only degree course for D/deaf* performers will challenge perceptions, celebrate diversity and promote inclusion when they tour Scotland next month in an exhilarating new production that blends British Sign Language (BSL) and English.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in association with pioneering Glasgow-based theatre company Solar Bear, present Love and Information by celebrated playwright, Caryl Churchill. It stars all ten students from the groundbreaking BA Performance in British Sign Language and English programme at Scotland’s national conservatoire, one of the world’s top three performing arts education institutions.

A series of short scenes about how we live in a world bombarded by information, Love and Information playfully explores different ways of making work for both D/deaf and hearing audiences. Some scenes will be in British Sign Language, some will be in English and others will be a mix of both. Captioning will be used extensively.

The tour opens at The Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock on November 14 and will visit Edinburgh, Glasgow, Giffnock, Inverness and Banchory.

The Royal Conservatoire’s three-year BA Performance in British Sign Language and English degree, which launched in 2015, was developed in association with Solar Bear with input from a range of theatre, education and D/deaf professionals. It teaches students to be both actors and makers of work, exploring innovative ways of creating performance through British Sign Language and English. Students have fully-qualified BSL interpreters in class, on stage and in rehearsal.

Claire Lamont, Head of the BA Performance in British Sign Language and English programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Love and Information showcases the talents of our final year students and also gives an insight into the exciting creative possibilities that exist when working between British Sign Language and English. The work being produced with these students marks a defining moment in our theatre history and we look forward to the impact they will have in Scotland and beyond.

“The Royal Conservatoire’s BA Performance in British Sign Language and English is breaking new ground. As well as delivering dedicated professional performance education for students, we are providing the industry with a new generation of talented and diverse performers.”

Since 2002, Solar Bear has established itself as a force of change within the arts sector. It works with D/deaf performers, D/deaf theatre makers and young D/deaf people to create new and inclusive theatre.

Jonathan Lloyd, Creative Director of Solar Bear, said: “I’m really excited to be working with such an extraordinary talented group of actors, especially as their work will be seen more widely around Scotland for the first time.”

To date, the BA Performance students have performed in an adaptation of Davey Anderson’s Scavengers, in a series of performances that they created for the On the Verge festival at the Citizens Theatre and they were part of New Dreams, the Shakespeare400 celebration with the University of Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Students benefit from many professional and collaborative partnerships including the National Theatre of Scotland, Solar Bear and BBC.

The students will graduate in July 2018 and will showcase their work in Glasgow and London in March of next year. In order to further explore the opportunities that lie ahead for this group of artists and for the industry, the Now You See Me Symposium will be held in Glasgow on November 17. Co-produced by the Royal Conservatoire and Solar Bear, it will take place at Scottish Youth Theatre in the Merchant City. Tickets are free however limited places remain.

Applications are now open for the second cohort of D/deaf or hard of hearing performers for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s BA Performance in British Sign Language and English programme, which will begin in September 2018.