Graeae Plays 1: New Plays Redefining Disability
Selected and Introduced by Jenny Sealey
Plays by April De Angelis, Mike Kenny, Peter Wolf, Maria Oshodi, Katie O’Reilly, Ray Harrison Graham
A unique, groundbreaking collection of new plays that redefine disability.
Soft Vengeance by April De Angelis: Adapted from Albie Sachs’ book, a gripping account of his struggle to rebuild his life following a car bomb.
“Courageous, horrifying, sad and funny…” The Times
Fittings: The Last Freakshow by Mike Kenny: Ringmaster Rusty Gusty runs the last freak show on the planet with a troupe of freaks and misfits. Edinburgh fringe first winner.
“…an hilarious, ironic, hard-hitting piece of theatre.” The Scotsman
Into the Mystic by Peter Wolf
“this latter-day passion play… making brilliant use of large scale computer imagery and performances of terrifying power…not for the squeamish.” What’s On
Hound by Maria Oshodi: Three blind people at a guide-dog training centre forced to confront the media.
“…a witty biting piece out to give the sighted a salutary eye-opener.” The Independent
Peeling by Katie O’Reilly: Explores an entirely new narrative of theatre, weaving audio description and sign language into these darkly comic and devastating stories.
Sympathy for the Devil by Ray Harrison Graham
“It is rare and rewarding to find a piece as dense and intelligent as this.” The Guardian
About the selection:
Jenny Sealey has been Graeae’s Artistic Director since 1997. She has pioneered a new theatrical language and aesthetics of artistic access experimenting with bilingual BSL and English, prerecorded BSL, creative captioning, in ear/ live audio description methods.
She works nationally and internationally to share and continue to develop the accessible ethos within performance and use this form a global cohort of Deaf and disabled artists to challenge and change the perception of possibility and push for a cultural shift and an equal playing field.
In 2009, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours and became an Artistic Advisor for Unlimited 2012 Festival.
Jenny co-directed the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony alongside Bradley Hemmings (GDIF). She also won the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award and was named on the Time Out London and Hospital Club h.Club100 2012 list of the most influential people in the creative industries. Since 2012 Jenny has been awarded an honorary doctorate degree in Drama from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in Performing Arts from Middlesex University and a Fellowship at Central School of Speech and Drama and Rose Bruford College.
About the authors
April De Angelis (born c.1960) is an English dramatist of part Sicilian descent. She is a graduate of Sussex University who trained at East 15 Acting School. De Angelis began her career in the 1980s as an actress with the Monstrous Regiment theatre company. In 1987, her play Breathless was a prize winner at the 1987 Second Wave Young Women’s Writing Festival. Her plays often feature historical figures. Playhouse Creatures and A Laughing Matter are set in the London theatrical milieu of the 17th and 18th centuries respectively. Wanderlust examines Victorian colonialism and Ironmistress is a verse play exploring Lady Charlotte Guest’s factory ownership. As a librettist, De Angelis contributed to the opera The Silent Twins (2007), composed by Errollyn Wallen, which is based on the case of June and Jennifer Gibbons. De Angelis tends to write to commission and several of her plays have been produced by Max Stafford-Clark’s Out of Joint theatre company.
Mike Kenny is probably best known for his plays for children although he has written many plays for theatre and radio. Stepping Stones won the Writers’ Guild Best Children’s Play Award in 1997. In 2000, he was the first ever recipient of the Arts Council of England’s Children’s Award, for his children’s plays.
Peter Wolf – (1960- 2019)
A prolific writer whose plays were produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Gielgud Theatre in the West End, along with regional touring in the UK and the USA. He received many radio commissions from the BBC as well as several award nominations and also a Gold Medal ‘radio Oscar’ first prize at the New York International Festival of Radio. He also wrote libretti with work performed in Austria, Germany, Italy and the UK, and frequently broadcast across Europe.
Maria Oshodi – Her first play, The S Bend, was produced as part of the Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writers’ Festival in 1984. She went on to write four more plays that were produced, published and toured nationally, including Blood, Sweat and Fears, From Choices to Chocolate, and Here Comes a Candle. While studying for her degree, she wrote Hound, and the screenplay Mug, which was produced as a short film for Channel 4 in 1990. In 1992 she graduated from Middlesex University with a 1st class BA Honors in Drama and English. Since then she has worked in arts development, acted, and currently runs her own arts company Extant, as well as working for BBC Drama production as a Diversity Project Co-ordinator.
Kaite (Caitlin) O’Reilly is an award-winning playwright. Yard won the 1998 Peggy Ramsay Award and was subsequently produced at the Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin. Belonging opened at Birmingham Rep’s The Door in 2000. Lives Out of Step in 2001, was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 as part of the experimental radio drama strand, The Wire. Future commissions include: Sgript Cymru and Contact Theatre, Manchester. She is working on her first feature film.
Ray Harrison Graham trained at Webber Douglas Academy. As resident Writer/Director of the Pegasus Theatre Company, he wrote his first two plays A Way of Life and YOP. Four years later, his widely acclaimed play Gary, won a fringe first at Edinburgh, prior to a West End run. His other plays include: Lost in the Night, (Tour) Spirit of a Clown, The Dreamcatcher, (Unicorn Arts), Question of Colour. (Basic Theatre Co.) His first Television Drama Strong Language was nominated for a BAFTA and won prizes at the Turin Film Festival and the Japan Prize. For his second drama Dream On, based on his early childhood, he finally won a BAFTA and also the Royal Television Society Award. Most recently, he has been writing and directing the second series of Rush, his ground-breaking new drama for Channel 4.