The rise of America's Next Top Model
winner and former Attitude cover star Nyle DiMarco over the last couple of years
has done a lot to transform the perception of deafness in the LGBT community - but as Thomas Moran knows, there's still a long way to go.
The young playwright from Birmingham is helming an innovative new play, NOISE
, to help raise awareness of the potential challenges of being deaf amid the frantic setting of university.
Mixing humour and tragedy, the loud, visually-engaging show followings the story of five fresh-faced students embarking on their first year at university; one of whom, Evan, is gay and deaf.
But it's not just Evan's story that sets this production apart from most others: Each performance will be signed, captioned and audio described to let deaf audiences enjoy immersive magic of the show.
21-tear-old Thomas says he was inspired to write the play after a chance encounter with a deaf group while working at a theatre left him painfully aware of his own ignorance surrounding the issue.
"I was working as a Front of House Assistant, ensuring each visitor enjoyed their experience," he recalls. "A party, all of whom were deaf, approached me to take their seats in the auditorium for a signed performance.
"In this moment, I felt entirely ignorant and incapable of having a simple interaction with them. Seconds later (which felt like a lifetime) they navigated their own way to their seats leaving me disappointed yet wanting to learn.
He adds: "I wanted to understand who or what the barrier is and how society and life in general is experienced in both worlds."
The heartwarming story of NOISE
is told through a visually arresting spectacle of physical theatre, and Thomas hopes the story will cater to a broad an audience as possible when it makes its debut at The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham this Thursday (April)
"As a young gay man, finding theatre that I am able to relate to around the Birmingham region is few and far between," he says. "I wanted to craft a piece primarily for people within my community and those only just discovering it.
"The one phrase that empowered me in writing NOISE
was a person’s desire to hear the words, 'I love you' and whether it be signed or spoken, the weight which it carries."
to run for six performances at
The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham between this Thursday and Saturday
For tickets and more information visit present-absence.co.uk/noise
Box Office 0121 359 9444
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