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Words: Chloe Shimmin

Jenny Sealey cathartically reveals life-long family secrets in her honest, personal story Self-Raising. After all we know that ‘secrets are easier to share with strangers.’ 

Accessibility is fundamentally integrated into Self-Raising, as you would expect from Sealey, Artistic Director of disability-led theatre company Graeae, who is known for her creative tools of embedding audio-description, captioning and sign language into her work.

This creates an atmosphere of inclusivity across the audience that moves you. Sealey’s ‘terp’ or interpreter is present on stage throughout and as a result their relationship creates genuine laughs and marks the important moments. The confessional style makes it hard not to become invested in the story with ‘aw’ moments, laughs and gasps.

The language of the piece is photography and flour, inspired by the children’s book ‘Flour Babies,’ where the concept of this show began. It is impressive how Sealey invites us into the world of her family through real photographs, shown on screen and audio-described with ease and character by Sealey’s own son, Jonah. The close mother-son relationship is evident, which is impressive considering it is only his voice that we hear.

We leave asking ourselves the questions: How do we treat children? Should we keep secrets in the dark? Or is there power in bringing them into the light?

Pleasance Dome, Queen Dome
4-27 Aug (not 7, 14, 21)


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