Theatr Arad Goch: Children with hearing loss helps company update one of its most successful productions
An interactive lively and musical drama for young children in three languages is currently on tour in Wales.
The new production of an Arad Goch classic Where the Leaves Blow is aimed at children 3- 9 years old and their families.
It deals with children’s emotions – with themes regarding friendship, working together and caring, at the same time as encouraging children to be creative.
Where the Leaves Blow is one of the Aberystwyth based company’s most successful productions to date.
This new version has been updated to include three languages – Welsh, English and British Sign Language (BSL).
Because the use of language is so careful and limited, the play has always been a very accessible one.
Arad Goch collaborated with experts and students at Penglais School’s Hearing department, who helped the show’s creatives bring in BSL to the performance.
As a result, most of what is said verbally, by the only speaking character, is also signed too.
It’s a magical and interactive experience for children and accessibility has always been at the heart of this play.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever felt included in a performance and it’s given me confidence,” said one student from Penglais School’s Hearing Resource Centre.
Dr Louize Miller, Penglais Hearing Resource Centre added: “This project has helped to empower our pupils with hearing loss by giving them the opportunity to be part of something bigger.
“(It also) raises deaf awareness and BSL in the community, as well as helping to remove some of the barriers that they face every day.”
Cwmni Theatr Arad Goch is taking their production to schools and theatres across Wales.
It’s being performed inside and outside the school buildings – using natural materials from the environment – including leaves, sticks and wood – to awaken the senses, and the imagination.
The audience also get the opportunity to assist the characters, whilst the teachers can download a pack from the Arad Goch website with suggestions for subsequent class work, and a video to help learn some BSL vocabulary.
The production was created by Jeremy Turner, Cwmni Theatr Arad Goch’s Artistic Director, and the actors are Gethin Evans and Ffion Wyn Bowen.
Ms Bowen is also the director of this new version of the production, and the cast are Anni Dafydd and Gwern Philips.
The details of the public performances of Where the Leaves Blow can be seen on the Arad Goch website.
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