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GROUNDBREAKING NEW HIP HOP SHOW BY DEAF, DISABLED AND NEURODIVERGENT ARTISTS READY TO RAISE THE ROOF AT LEEDS PLAYHOUSE

31st October 2023

A 20 Stories High, Graeae Theatre, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and LEEDS 2023 co-production  

High Times and Dirty Monsters
  • HIGH-OCTANE GIG THEATRE SHOW BRINGS HEAVY BEATS & STUNNING VISUALS TO THE COURTYARD THEATRE AT LEEDS PLAYHOUSE FROM 9-11 NOV 
  • DEAF, DISABLED AND NEURODIVERGENT ARTISTS CREATE UNIQUE SHOW WITH ARTISTICALLY EMBEDDED BSL, CREATIVE CAPTIONING & AUDIO DESCRIPTION 

Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent actors, beatboxers, rappers and dancers are joining forces to present a raucous, radical, celebratory show with heavy beats, stunning visuals and artistically embedded access including integrated British Sign Language (BSL), creative captioning and audio description. 

High Times and Dirty Monsters, an exciting co-production from award-winning theatre companies 20 Stories High and Graeae and acclaimed partners LEEDS 2023 and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, has been developed with young people from each of the four organisations. Through a high-octane gig theatre format, a collage of stories reflects young people’s lives and concerns while celebrating the ways they find to look after themselves and each other. 

This unique Hip Hop show is directed by Keith Saha (20 Stories High Artistic Director) with Associate Director Jenny Sealey OBE (Graeae Artistic Director) and Assistant Director Sonny Nwachukwu (former Graeae Associate Artist).  

The creative team also includes choreographer Chris Fonseca, designer Miriam Nabarro, dramaturg Lin Coghlan and Nickie Miles-Wildin, BSL consultant Daryl Jackson, audio description consultant Mandy Redvers-Rowe, video designer and creative captioner Ben Glover, wellbeing Practitioner Lou Platt, sound designer Tony Gayle and lighting designer Rajiv Pattani.  

High Times and Dirty Monsters places access, wellbeing, and participation at its heart. The production artistically integrates British Sign Language, creative captions and audio description. Commitment to access also extends to mental health provision, touch tours, and accessible ticket pricing. 

 

Director Keith Saha said: “Fusing the expertise from our four companies has presented such an exciting opportunity to create a production that is as accessible as it possibly can be. The skill and energy of the team involved and the stories that are being told promise to make for an unforgettable night out.” 

 

Associate Director Jenny Sealey OBE said: “The voices of young disabled people often go unheard. But not anymore. This raucous, radical, celebratory, hard-hitting gig theatre show shares the good times and the not-so-good times being young and disabled in 2023. Graeae is excited to be co-producing with 20 Stories High, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and LEEDS 2023 and bringing our recent Associate Artist, Sonny Nwachukwu, on board as Assistant Director.” 

Tickets now on sale. For more information visit leedsplayhouse.org.uk. 

 

Listings Information  

A 20 Stories High, Graeae Theatre, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and LEEDS 2023 co-production 

High Times and Dirty Monsters
Courtyard theatre, Leeds Playhouse 

9-11 November 

Press night: Friday 10 November, 7pm
Book online leedsplayhouse.org.uk 

Box office 0113 213 7700

 

The show is produced by Lead Producer Leanne Jones (20 Stories High) with Lucy Graham (20 Stories High), Lizzy Luxford (Graeae), Victoria Rope (Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse), and Tom Curteis (LEEDS 2023). Casting to be announced this July. 

20 Stories High is an award-winning theatre company that believes “everybody’s got a story to tell… and their own way of telling it.” They co-create with culturally diverse, working-class young people, emerging artists, and world-class professionals to tell stories that are challenging, authentic, and uplifting.  

Experimenting with rap, dance, beatboxing, music, and puppetry, we mash up art forms to make new kinds of theatre that empowers and enables social change. Their shows happen in loads of different spaces from theatres, schools and youth clubs to digital spaces and living rooms. Their hearts are in Liverpool, but their reach is universal. Recent projects have included LOOPS, a touring show following the experience of Djibi, a young Black man, on the day he is stopped and searched, TOUCHY + ANTHOLOGY, a touring double bill of short films and gig theatre, award-winning Touchy, a series of short films inspired by the Wellcome Collection’s Touch Test study, Knocking On, a piece of doorstep theatre performed for households in Toxteth and Liverpool 8 during lockdown; Chokka, an audio-play in 4 parts written by Luke Barnes with 20 Stories High Youth Theatre; Black with a Capital B, a series of commissions by Black Liverpool artists. Buttercup, written and performed by Dorcas Sebuyange based on an original idea by Associate Producer Odile Mukete (a BBC Arts commission as part of Lights Up, co-produced by Tigerlily Productions); and Chapters of a Teen, the company’s most recent Youth Theatre show.  

20 Stories High are a National Portfolio organisation, funded and supported by Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council. Previous awards include: Recorded (Direct) Oncomm Award for Touchy 2022, ‘The Stage 100’ Winner 2021, Achates Philanthropy Prize-National Showcase Organisation 2020, ASSITEJ Festival of Theatre Young Critics Award 2016 (for The Broke ‘N’ Beat Collective); National Theatre’s Jenny Harry’s Award 2016 (in recognition of 20 Stories High’s work with young people in theatre).The company’s patrons include Lemn Sissay and Jamie Lee O’Donnell. 20storieshigh.org.uk   

For over 40 years, Graeae Theatre Company has cultivated and championed the best in Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent talent, locally, nationally and internationally. 
Graeae is passionate about igniting artistic curiosity, championing accessibility and providing a platform for new generations of artists through the creation of trail-blazing theatre. It is also a human rights company, founded on the need to tackle social injustice, discrimination and exclusion.
Graeae’s work has been seen in stadiums, theatres, schools, at festivals and streamed online. Recent productions include UK Theatre Award winner ‘The Paradis Files’, ‘Kerbs’, Olivier Award nominated ‘10 Nights’, and two seasons of the digital new work programme ‘Crips without Constraints’. Other work includes the hit Ian Dury musical ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ and outdoor spectacles ‘The Iron Man’ and ‘This Is Not For You’. In addition to productions, Graeae also runs an extensive programme of training, learning, and creative professional development programmes. Since 1997, Graeae has been run by Jenny Sealey OBE, who also co-directed the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony. Artistic Director and Joint CEO: Jenny Sealey OBE. Executive Director and Joint CEO: Kevin Walsh. graeae.org   

Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse are two brilliant theatres, here for artists and audiences and the magic that happens when they come together. A local artistic force with national significance and an international reputation, we use the power of theatre to inspire, entertain and nurture positive social change. Whether you visit us at the Everyman or the Playhouse, see our work online or out in the community, a warm welcome awaits you. We’re grateful for the continued support of Arts Council England, Liverpool City Council, our donors, patrons, partners and our audiences.
Chief Executive Mark Da Vanzo. everymanplayhouse.com   

LEEDS 2023’s ambition is to deliver a transformational year of creative experiences connecting and benefiting people now and into the future. The planned programme will celebrate and transform the City’s identity locally, nationally and internationally – creating a lasting legacy of economic and social impact.  

LEEDS 2023 is run by the Leeds Culture Trust, an independent charity set up in 2019 by Leeds City Council as part of its Culture Strategy and as a response to the cancellation of the UK’s participation in the European Capital of Culture competition.   

Leeds City Council recognises in a number of its key strategies the difference culture and creativity can make to a city and its citizens, and is the principal funder of LEEDS 2023.  

LEEDS 2023 is supported by Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players for making this possible.  leeds2023.co.uk 

Leeds Playhouse has been one of the UK’s leading producing theatres for more than 50 years. It is an award-winning theatre and a cultural hub, a place where people gather to tell and share stories and engage in world class theatre. Its warm welcome was recently recognised at the UK Theatre Awards, where it was named Most Welcoming Theatre 2022. It makes work which is pioneering and relevant, seeking out the best companies and artists to create inspirational theatre in the heart of Yorkshire.    

Alongside the work on its stages, the Playhouse works creatively with the people, artists and communities of Leeds through its innovative, sector-leading Playhouse Connect programme. Focussing on two key areas – Learning & Skills and Creative Communities – Playhouse Connect engages with thousands of people in the region each year. As part of this work, its Artistic Development programme, Furnace, engages with theatre-makers, providing a creative space to refine their practice at all stages of their careers; it builds, develops and sustains projects to connect with refugee communities, young people and students, older people and people with learning disabilities; it hands over spaces to communities to use in ways they choose, from breakdancing to roller-skating, craft markets to tea parties, enlivening the building whilst fostering deeper relationships; and works in-residence around the city, connecting with people on their doorsteps.   

As a registered charity, Leeds Playhouse relies on the support of valued partners to make great things happen. It is grateful for the continued support of Arts Council England, Leeds City Council, The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation and the many charitable trusts, business partners and individuals that continue to support the vital work of the theatre.    

leedsplayhouse.org.uk