Stage, Theatre & TV6th February 2016

Paddleboat THEATRE puts Deaf academy talent in spotlight at Exeter Phoenix

Collaboration with Deaf Academy results in Deaf accessible show

by SLFirst Entertainment Team

PaddleBoat Theatre Company has joined forces with Exeter Deaf Academy to create an enriched production of ‘A Little Man’s Holiday’ using non-verbal communication and British Sign Language.

​During a successful run of shows at Devon libraries last summer, PaddleBoat Theatre Company encountered many children in the audience with hearing impairments, Asperger’s and learning difficulties which inspired them to make the show more accessible and Deaf friendly.

During Exeter Deaf Academy’s Expressive Arts classes, talented Year 7, 8 and 9 students’ improvised scenes with PaddleBoat to creatively adapt the play with visual jokes and louder sound effects incorporating British Sign Language (BSL) into the script.

Michael Smith from PaddleBoat Theatre said, ‘It has been an amazing opportunity to work with the Deaf Academy students and we have been thoroughly impressed by their enthusiasm, professionalism and creativity. Their input has made our original play even better. Having learnt some British Sign Language over the summer, and continuing to learn from the students, it is clear BSL is a beautiful language and really lends itself to theatre and performance. We can’t wait to show everyone what we have been up to.’

Deaf Academy students will take to the stage at Exeter Phoenix with a special one-off performance for their friends and family, before PaddleBoat Theatre Company continue their run of shows during February half-term for the public. This imaginative story of pirate adventure promises visual and sensory fun for families in an easy-going environment with break out space and a relaxed attitude to noise in the auditorium.

Exeter Deaf Academy’s English and Expressive Arts Teacher, Deb Thomas, said, ‘We have had a wonderful time working with PaddleBoat Theatre. It is great to see them wanting to make their shows more accessible to a wider audience by including sign supported dialogue and responsive audience engagement. The students have loved the collaboration and I hope more people have a chance to work with and attend PaddleBoat Theatre shows.’

Exeter Deaf Academy will be performing their one off  ‘friends & family’ show on Wednesday 10 February at Exeter Phoenix 12-1pm. After that, A Little Man’s Holiday ican be seen on Saturday 13th February to Saturday 20th February at the Exeter Phoenix.

Tickets for the public performances of ‘A Little Man’s Holiday’ are £5 including free entry for carers.

Tickets are on sale from Exeter Phoenix box office, by phoning 01392 667080 or online at        

Article by SLFirst Entertainment Team

posted in Entertainment / Stage, Theatre & TV

6th February 2016