Graeae – Cherylee Houston joins Harriet Walter, Sharon D Clarke and others for Crips Without Constraints from Tuesday 19 January
In Spring 2020, at the height of the first Covid-19 lockdown, the UK’s leading disabled led theatre company, Graeae launched a weekly series of new works to be streamed online. Crips Without Constraints played for eleven weeks to critical acclaim. Today, the company announces Crips Without Constraints Part 2 which will launch in the new year with five brand new short plays, celebrating the best talent and creativity of Deaf and disabled artists from across the UK.
Graeae can also reveal casting will include award-winning actor and Graeae patron Dame Harriet Walter, Sharon D. Clarke (Death of a Salesman – Young Vic, Holby City – BBC), Mandy Colleran (comedy duo No Excuses), Naomi Wirthner (The Doctor – Almeida & West End), Julie Graham (Benidorm – ITV, Doctor Who – BBC) with further exciting casting to be announced and Cherylee Houston (Coronation Street).
The new plays, all bold and brilliant duologues, are written by Leanna Benjamin, Rebekah Bowsher, Karen Featherstone, Kellan Frankland and Jessica Lovett, all alumni from Graeae’s Write to Play programme, covering topics from sibling rivalry to death by post stick notes. Additionally this year, the pieces will all be directed by upcoming disabled directors Stephen Bailey, Hana Pascal Keegan, Cheryl Martin, Alex Whiteley and Lilac Yosiphon.
Nickie Miles-Wildin, Graeae Associate Director says:
“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. Can’t wait to share it with the world.”
The plays comprise –
HOW DO YOU MAKE A CUP OF TEA?
by Kellan Frankland
A disabled actor meets the not-yet-disabled woman intent on playing her. Ferocious and funny the play poses the question, who has the right to play whom?
FLOWERS FOR THE CHATEAUX
by Rebekah Bowsher
A woman discovers that her future son-in-law’s mother is the ex who dumped her by postcard 20-odd years ago,
by Leanna Benjamin
A pregnant woman has to make a terrible choice, but will her mother respect her decision?
STUCK WITH YOU
by Jessica Lovett
Two sisters clash over wedding preparations.
GOOD DAY, BAD DAY
by Karen Featherstone
A woman picks a fight with herself. A reminder that who we are depends on the day.
Full casting and running order to be announced in the New Year
Filmed on Zoom and released every Tuesday at midday from 19 January until 16 February 2021, all pieces will be captioned and audio described. A new theme tune has been composed by sound designer Jonathan Leitch.
Combined with these plays, every Thursday from 21 January, Graeae will release a short, filmed conversation with Deaf artists in British Sign Language, discussing in more detail the themes from that weeks’ play.
The plays and BSL conversations will be available to watch through Graeae’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/graeaetheatrecompany) and website (www.graeae.org).
Crips Without Constraints is supported by Arts Council England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Jack Thorne.