Created as part of a wider theatre project in association with RADA, the short film My Darling Christopher will be shared as part of HOME Manchester’s Homemakers Festival. My Darling Christopher has been written, cast, shot and edited all during lockdown by Hot Coals Theatre, who create visual theatre accessible to both hearing and d/Deaf audiences in a shared experience.
My Darling Christopher is based on the true story of Clive, a young boy who lost his sight and hearing due to Meningitis complications. His father Christopher is serving in the Navy when he receives a heartfelt letter from his wife, Dorothy. At the outbreak of World War Two, Clive is 15 years old and attending Goring School, after evacuation from Margate School for the Deaf.
English, British Sign Language and Visual Vernacular weave together to tell the shocking story of a war plane crashing to the ground just metres from Clive’s classroom. The piece will use a unique theatrical language that is highly visual and inclusive. This mixture of forms creates an intricate form of storytelling using forms in innovative ways.
Homemakers is a series of new commissions inviting artists to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home. These fully funded commissions offer groundbreaking artists a chance to challenge the definition of “live performance”.
Jo Sargeant and Clare-Louise English, Hot Coals Theatre commented: “This commission has offered us an exciting opportunity to work in a new medium and experiment with language, combining English, BSL and the visual storytelling language, Visual Vernacular, in a way we’ve not seen or done before. It gives us the unique chance to put the spotlight on a Deaf person’s wartime experience and tell their story.”
My Darling Christopher is an exploration as part of a larger project to create a full theatre production entitled A New Way of Life. This wider production exploring Clive’s story has been put on hold due to lockdown measures. Hot Coals Theatre will also be releasing a documentary alongside My Darling Christopher exploring its creation process.
Hot Coals received Arts Council Emergency funding.
My Darling Christopher will be available online from Thursday 16 July.