Jenny Sealey in action directing The House of Bernarda Alba rehearsals
Jenny Sealey in action directing The House of Bernarda Alba rehearsals

Ramps on the Moon consortium member Graeae Theatre Company have already had a busy start to 2017! Their most recent revival of a Lorca classic has opened at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, and their ground-breaking musical Reasons to be Cheerful has been funded to tour the UK this autumn.

Jenny Sealey and Kathryn Hunter redefine Lorca’s final masterpiece with the Royal Exchange.

A bold exploration of female identity, sexuality and power: Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba is beautifully transformed for the Royal Exchange’s distinctive in-the-round theatre in a co-production with the trail-blazing Graeae Theatre Company. The House of Bernarda Alba is directed by Graeae’s Artistic Director Jenny Sealey, in a translation by Jo Clifford with the award-winning Kathryn Hunter in the title role. Deftly weaving the incredible talent of Deaf and disabled actors into this compelling drama, each performance creatively integrates British Sign Language, Audio Description and Captioning. The production is running from now until 25 February 2017.

Jenny Sealey said: ‘I have wanted to direct this play for many years, and am thrilled to finally be doing so with this full-blooded translation by the wonderful Jo Clifford and in the unique space that is the Royal Exchange Theatre. Alongside this heated tale of competitiveness, danger and fragility, we’ll be weaving Graeae’s famous aesthetics of access into the fabric of the production, ensuring it truly is a landmark event, while showcasing the extraordinary talent of our Deaf and disabled actors.’

Critically acclaimed musical Reasons to be Cheerful will receive £220,000 as part of Art Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme, to tour to seven regions across England in autumn 2017.

Written by Paul Sirett and directed by Jenny Sealey, Reasons to be Cheerful is a celebration of Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ infectious music, bringing energy and anarchy to new audiences around the country. First seen in 2010, the show has gone onto play at theatres and festivals across the UK, in stadiums around the world, and even in front of HM The Queen, with Spasticus Autisticus being performed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony!

The 2017 tour will be a truly nationwide production and every performance will be accessible to all, with a combination of British Sign Language, audio description and captioning. So there is no excuse not to chuck on your DMs and get stuck in!

Jenny goes on to say “This is indeed a Reason to be Cheerful and you could have knocked us down with a feather when we got this wonderful news from Arts Council England. What an opportunity to bring this fully accessible show of anarchy, politics and rock n roll to audiences across England. It is so exciting – a truly awesome start to our year!’’

Check out the new Graeae website for more information and news by visiting http://graeae.org/

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