Graeae completes casting for online series of new plays

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Last Updated on 6 February 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team

Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Sharon D Clarke are among performers lined up for new plays by Deaf and disabled artists in Graeae’s Crips Without Constraints Part 2.

Crips Without Constraints Graeae

Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Sharon D Clarke, Saida Ahmed, Cherylee Houston and Alex James set to perform in the latest new plays from a new generation of Deaf and disabled artists. They are part of an online series of duologues presented by leading, disabled-led theatre company Graeae under the banner of Crips Without Constraints Part 2.

Filmed on Zoom, the duologues are being released every Tuesday from 19 January until 16 February 2021 at midday at graeae.org and YouTube.com/graeaetheatrecompany. They are all captioned and audio described.

The next will be The Gift by Leanna Benjamin on February 2, starring Sharon D Clarke and Saida Ahmed, about a pregnant woman who has to make a terrible choice and worries whether her mother will respect her decision.

Good Day, Bad Day by Karen Featherstone on February 9 will star Cherylee Houston as a woman who picks a fight with herself. A reminder that who we depend on the day.

Crips Without Constraints Part 2 will culminate on February 16 with Stuck With You by Jessica Lovettstarring Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Alex James, about two sisters clashing over wedding preparations.

The first two plays, released in January, are still available to watch online: How Do You Make a Cup of Tea by Kellan Frankland, starring Harriet Walter and Mandy Colleran, and Flowers for the Chateau by Rebekah Bowsher, starring Naomi Wirthner and Julie Graham.

The pieces are all directed by up-and-coming disabled directors: Stephen Bailey, Hana Pascal Keegan, Cheryl Martin, Alex Whiteley and Lilac Yosiphon. A new theme tune has been composed by sound designer Jonathan Leitch.

The five new plays follow the success of the first Crips Without Constraints which ran for 11 weeks from spring 2020.

Nickie Miles-Wildin, associate director of Graeae, said: “It’s exciting that disabled writers are being given the platform they deserve. Such an eclectic mix of stories that have been creatively told using the digital world of online communication. Incredibly hyped and proud of the entire team, from writers and actors to directors and composer.”

Combined with these plays, every Thursday from 21 January, Graeae has been releasing a short, filmed conversation with Deaf artists in British Sign Language, discussing in more detail the themes from that week’s play.

Crips Without Constraints is supported by Arts Council England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Jack Thorne.

Mark Ludmon
About Mark Ludmon 42 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre as well as hospitality and drinks after starting out on regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He has also been on the judging panel for the Olivier Awards. He can be found tweeting as @MarkLudmon and writing about theatre at https://markludmon.com.