The British Council’s engagement with the field of Arts & Disability in Spain stretches back many years and powers its support of the country’s leading organisations and events devoted to showcasing the work of D/deaf and disabled artists in order to increase their visibility and recognition. It is equally committed to initiatives that provide D/deaf and disabled artists with the tools they need to form part of mainstream arts and culture as leaders, creators or performers.
Our partnership with the festival “Una Mirada Diferente” this year fulfils both these principles. Organised by the Spanish National Theatre annually since 2013, the British Council is a long-term partner of this arts & disability festival which provides a prominent platform for works in which outstanding national and international disabled artists are the principal protagonists, with the ultimate aim that they will eventually be programmed in regular seasons and festivals. For this year’s edition the British Council is delighted to welcome Jenny Sealey back to Madrid. Artistic director of the theatre company Graeae since 1997, Jenny is a known and respected voice nationally and internationally in the promotion of accessible performances and in advocating for the rights of D/deaf and disabled people. With Graeae she has pioneered a new theatrical language, known as the “Aesthetics of Access”, which combines the creative integration of sign language and audio description within performance.
On this occasion Jenny will be running a workshop with directors Julián Fuentes Reta and Roberto Perez de Toledo in order to contribute towards the preparation of future projects both these directors are undertaking with D/deaf and hearing actors, one of which is a new production in Madrid of Tribes, the award-winning play by British playwright Nina Raines. Directed by Julián Fuentes Reta, Tribes is the story of Billy, the only deaf member of a loving yet comically dysfunctional British-Jewish family and forces the spectator to ask questions about the meaning of identify, belonging, community, and family. The workshop will be attended by the D/deaf and hearing actors who are working with both directors and intends to raise awareness around deafness through drama games, exercises and inclusive ways of working as well as exploring the emotional landscape of being D/deaf in a hearing world.