PhD student Kasia Senyszyn launches accessible theatre project
5 February 2019
Kasia Senyszyn, who is studying for a PhD in Drama by Research in the School of Arts, supported by the Alumni Postgraduate Research Scholarship, has just launched a new crowdfunding project at Kent to create a play accessible for people who are D/deaf or visually impaired. Kasia is researching how to make theatre more accessible for people with hearing or sight loss, and is using her research to embed captioning and audio description techniques into a show.
The project, 'Talk on Tour', includes adapting Mark Wilson's play Talk, working with the playwright alongside access practitioners and D/deaf and visually impaired members of the local community to develop the accessible strategies. Kasia and her team, who have formed the Parrot Theatre Company to develop the production, will then produce and rehearse the show and take it to Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2019.
Kasia says of the project: ‘By taking the show to Edinburgh, we can hopefully inspire other theatre makers and theatre lovers to think more creatively about access. It doesn't have to be a last-minute add-on that disrupts the experience of the show – techniques can be integrated into the performance so that everyone can have an equal opportunity to enjoy it. I've learnt so much from my research at Kent so far, and I'm really excited to see it working in action and having a real impact on the theatrical landscape’.
More than 10 million people in the UK are affected by hearing loss. Studies have shown that those affected by hearing loss are more likely to suffer from anxiety, isolation or depression due to exclusion from social or cultural activities. This project aims to change this by producing an accessible production and presenting it at one of the biggest theatrical festivals in the world, in the hopes that accessibility will become more mainstream.
Talk is a moving, brutal look at the introduction of psychotherapy in the early 20th century. It is a tale about the importance of being able to tell your story, and of empathy, kindness and humanity. The team thought that this was the perfect platform to raise issues of accessibility and communication.
More on Parrot Theatre Company can be found on their Facebook page here: