NEWS: Deafinitely Theatre Announces the Bursary Recipients for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Theatre Freelancers

The company has unveiled the recipients for their bursary supporting deaf or hard of hearing freelance theatre practitioners and performers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Each of the twenty recipients, who are at different stages in their career, will receive £1000 to develop their practise in Spring 2021. The company will also provide them with networking sessions and keeping-in-touch sessions to monitor their personal development.

Talking about the news Artistic Director, Paula Garfield, said: “Deafinitely Theatre is incredibly excited to be able to support twenty deaf British freelance theatre professionals at this difficult time thanks to the support of the Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund. These twenty artists represent just a fraction of the wide-ranging, diverse deaf talent in our industry and we are excited to support their personal development on innovative theatre projects and initiatives. We can’t wait to share the work developed as a result of their bursaries, which will be profiled on our website in the spring. Take a look at our website now to find out more about this brilliant group and the work they are making.”

Those who have received the bursary are:

  • Stephanie Back –will use the bursary to develop her show Fow and further her skills in translation, presenting work online and reaching Deaf audiences.
  • Rinkoo Barpaga – will use the bursary to build on his Visual Vernacular training and develop a clowning piece aiming to reach new audiences, particularly young Asian and black communities.
  • Duffy – will use the bursary to hone his writing and storytelling skills, and develop a new play.
  • Katie Erich – will use the bursary to develop her BSL performance skills, working toward BSL Level 6, and expand her experience in translating scripts.
  • Richard France – will use the bursary to work with deaf dancers to see how dance can develop through sensory feeling and sonic sounds, exploring an area that he hasn’t worked on before.
  • Fifi Garfield – will use the bursary for the research and development of a solo play or stand-up comedy routine, as part of which she will get training from experienced stand-up comedy professionals.
  • Ben Glover – will use the bursary to develop creative captioning video design for a new production and train in Notch and Cinema 4D technology to expand his skills and creative portfolio. 
  • Alim Jayda – will use the bursary to create a new digital platform, Released Voices, which will present a series of stories and experiences from underrepresented deaf voices and minorities.
  • Sahera Khan – will use the bursary for the research and development of a new short play about deaf women in prison and develop her skills as a writer.
  • Ace Mahbaz – will use the bursary to develop his writing skills, exploring the concept of masculinity in the deaf community and what it means to be a deaf man.
  • Zoë McWhinney – will use the bursary to experiment with cutting edge musical equipment and develop her Visual Vernacular performance skills.
  • Harri Marshall – will use the bursary to undertake R&D on a new verbatim piece that explores the search for human connection in an increasingly digitised world.
  • Colly Metcalfe – will use the bursary to research, write and rehearse new material in BSL and English for performances in the North of England and to develop her digital skills for online work. 
  • Chisato Minamimura – will use the bursary to further explore the Visual Vernacular performance style, with the use of sign and mime, with highly respected deaf performers and develop her performance skills. 
  • Julian Peedle-Calloo – will use the bursary to work with a deaf playwright to develop a new short play about the impacts of Covid-19 on the deaf community, which could be filmed for digital broadcast.
  • Jamie Rea – will use the bursary to develop a new interdisciplinary digital performance developing his skills as a performer, visual artist, filmmaker and painter.
  • Mary-Jayne Russell de Clifford – will use the bursary to explore the feasibility of setting up a deaf community theatre group in the Midlands with a research project including a series of online taster workshops.
  • Rebecca Saffir – will use the bursary to research and write two new plays developing her experience of two contrasting forms: a large, multi-lingual ensemble piece and a monologue.
  • Deepa Shastri – will use the bursary to develop her knowledge of casting and creative producing and gain professional experience in these areas which have little involvement from deaf professionals.
  • Otis Waby – will use the bursary to fund the writing of a new play inspired by his tinnitus and mental health, interviewing other creatives that suffer from similar issues and exploring how this affects and inspires their creativity.


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