Deafinitely Theatre tell Everyday true stories of deaf women and non-binary people’s experiences of surviving abuse

Cherie Gordon in Deafinitely Theatre’s Everyday. Picture: Becky Bailey

FOUR people come together to perform a ritual of community and catharsis in Deafinitely Theatre’s Everyday at York Theatre Royal tonight and tomorrow.

Gathering up true stories of deaf women and non-binary people’s experiences of surviving abuse, they form a witches’ coven like no other: one with a cauldron of newt’s eyes and butterflies, deep scars, and blazing signs.

Commissioned by New Diorama Theatre, writer-director Paula Garfield’s visually rich, playful and urgent world première combines British Sign Language and spoken English in the company’s distinctive bilingual style.

Drawing on interviews with women and non-binary people exploring domestic abuse in the deaf community, Everyday is a defiant and empowering new work that marks Deafinitely Theatre’s 20th anniversary.

Writer-director Paula Garfield, centre, in rehearsal for Everyday

Here Paula Garfield discusses her new play:

What can audiences expect from this 20th anniversary world premiere?

“A fantastically skilled cast of three women and one non-binary person in a collaborative ensemble telling, for the first time, the stories of deaf people’s diverse experiences of domestic violence.

“We’ve seen raised discourse within mainstream media, with the likes of the #MeToo movement; however, domestic violence remains a taboo subject within the deaf community and the stories of deaf and disabled people have yet to be told.

“Everyday’s audiences will see these heartfelt and diverse stories told through the mediums of visual and physical theatre using British Sign Language, English and creative captioning.”

What was your writing process and what research did it involve?

“When Deafinitely Theatre was first established, we began creating devised productions, using the experiences of the deaf community to inspire those stories. We then shifted towards adapted screenplays, using scripts of well-known playwrights, such as Shakespeare and Sarah Kane.

Giving the finger: Cherie Gordon, Zoë McWhinney, Fifi Garfield and Bea Webster in a scene from Everyday. Picture: Becky Bailey

“This time, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary, I wanted to revert to our original method of working and create a devised play.

“During lockdown, I couldn’t help but see the numerous news reports showing the rapidly increasing rates of domestic abuse due to the impact of the pandemic. The problems were exacerbated by people unable to go out or to work and feeling trapped in their own homes.

“This prompted me to post on Facebook to see if anyone would come forward about their own experiences, and being a member of the deaf community, people knew me, and felt they could entrust me with their stories.”

What happened next?

“After speaking with several women and non-binary people, I invited some of them to be involved in a period of research and development with the actors, and I asked survivors to oversee the script. At the end of each stage of research and development, we shared our progress with an invitation-only audience and asked them for feedback upon which we would build.”

“The deaf community needs deaf-led theatre: deaf directors, deaf creatives, deaf people and deaf stories,” says Everyday writer-director Paula Garfield. Picture: Becky Bailey

What do you hope audiences will take away from Everyday?

“I really want our audiences to be struck by this production and the vulnerability of deaf women and non-binary people facing domestic abuse. I want people to see the vital need for equal rights as their hearing counterparts when it comes to accessing domestic-abuse support services.

“A lot of the services across the UK are not accessible to deaf people; SignHealth is the only deaf-led organisation that provides support for deaf adults who experience domestic abuse. However, they can only support those who live in England, and I think this is mainly due to funding.

“We are lacking in refuges that accept members of the deaf community, as many will not house them due to ‘health and safety reasons’, which takes us right back to the issue of deaf rights, which in this context, seem to be almost non-existent.

“We’re also in need of more deaf Independent Domestic Violence Advocates, with very few trained practitioners expected to offer support to those all over the country. I believe we have a responsibility to create more training opportunities and to encourage more deaf people to pursue this career pathway where services are so desperately needed.”

 Zoë McWhinney and Cherie Gordon in Everyday

What are you most looking forward to about taking the production on tour?

“I’m so pleased to be touring the production because the deaf community isn’t only based in London, there are strong deaf communities across the UK. I’d love for us to be touring even wider and further afield one day.

“Working with Birmingham Rep Theatre has been a long-standing dream of mine, so I’m over the moon that we’re included in their programme. The same is true for our collaborations with Northern Stage and York Theatre Royal; I have hopes that this marks the beginnings of many more touring productions for Deafinitely Theatre in the future.

“I’d love for theatres across the UK to become aware that they have deaf communities and audiences who need to see themselves represented in theatre. The deaf community needs deaf-led theatre: deaf directors, deaf creatives, deaf people and deaf stories.”

“To drive improvements, we need to raise awareness, and that is a part of what I hope Everyday will achieve,” says Paula

Why should York audiences see Everyday tonight or tomorrow?

“I believe Everyday has poignant messages for both deaf and hearing audiences. I hope that Everyday will empower a deaf audience, making them aware of some of the more nuanced signs of abuse, help break the stigma surrounding abuse, and raise awareness of support services.

“I hope that deaf audiences will feel seen and understood, and for those who may have experienced domestic abuse to know that they are not alone.

“I want a hearing audience to understand that anyone can experience domestic abuse and that for deaf people there are additional barriers. The community have faced historical oppression by means of language, education and access to services and many of these difficulties still exist today. To drive improvements, we need to raise awareness, and that is a part of what I hope Everyday will achieve.”

Deafinitely Theatre in Everyday at York Theatre Royal on June 21 and 22 at 7.30pm. Box office:  01904 623568 or at Age recommendation: 16 plus

More Things To Do in and around York for June 18 to June 26, as the Romans invade again. List No. 87, courtesy of The Press

Cherie Gordon in Everyday, on tour at York Theatre Royal in Deafinitely Theatre’s 20th anniversary tour. Picture: Becky Bailey

FROM the Pride parade to Roman festivities, Americana musicians to English prog legends, defiant deaf theatre to bracing art, Charles Hutchinson savours a diverse diary ahead.

Empowering play of the week: Everyday, Deafinitely Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.30pm

FOUR people come together to perform a ritual of community and catharsis. Gathering up true stories of deaf women and non-binary people’s experiences of surviving abuse, they form a witches’ coven like no other, replete with a cauldron of newt’s eyes and butterflies, deep scars, and blazing signs.

Commissioned by New Diorama Theatre, Deafinitely Theatre’s playful, urgent, defiant world premiere by writer-director Paula Garfield combines British Sign Language and oral English as it draws on interviews to explore domestic abuse and mental health in the deaf community. Box office: 01904 623568 or at

Davina De Campo: Performing at York LGBT Pride at Knavesmire

Fiesta of the week: York LGBT Pride, June 18, from high noon

THE York Pride Parade leaves from outside York Minster at Duncombe Place. Best advice: arrive at 11.45am, ready for departure at 12 noon, with the parade arriving at Knavesmire (Tadcaster Road end) between 1pm and 1.30pm.

On the main stage, hosts Miss Sordid Secret and DJ Kira introduce live music and entertainment from Nadine Coyle, Davina De Campo, Duncan James, Marcus Collins and Jo O’Meara. York Pride is a free family-friendly event, but donations are welcome.

Dolphin Hotel, by David Finnigan, at According To McGee, York

Exhibition launch of the week: Contemporary Painting: Elementals and Synthesis by Freya Horsley and David Finnigan, According To McGee, Tower Street, York, June 18 to July 11

EXHIBITING Freya Horsley, from York, alongside David Finnigan, from Scarborough, is “not so much a duo show, more like two exhibitions in one gallery,” says According To McGee co-director Greg McGee.

“Freya and David are far removed in terms of subject and mark making, but there’s enough intersection to be able to build an event like this.”

Horsley’s Elementals works focus on seascapes full of bristling light and spray, serenity and inner-lit joy; Finnigan’s four new Synthesis paintings are geometric abstractions influenced by sound and modulation. 

Sunday’ll be the day for That’ll Be The Day! at Grand Opera House, York

Tribute gig of the week: That’ll Be The Day!, Grand Opera House, York, June 19, 7pm

THIS long-running show, now into its 36th year, celebrates the golden age of rock’n’roll and pop from the 1950s through to the 1980s.

That’ll Be The Day combines comedy sketches and impersonations with stellar vocals and musicianship, fronted by director, producer and vocalist Trevor Payne. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at

Courtney Marie Andrews: Third time lucky for Phoenix singer-songwriter as she returns to Pocklington at last

Americana gig of the week: Courtney Marie Andrews, Pocklington Arts Centre, June 19, 8pm

AMERICAN singer, songwriter, poet, musician and now artist Courtney Marie Andrews makes her long-awaited return to Pocklington this weekend.

Phoenix-born Courtney, 31, twice had to postpone the follow-up to her December 2018 gig. The focus was expected to be on the 2021 Grammy-nominated Old Flowers, but now that she has announced the October 7 release of ninth album Loose Future on Fat Possum, hopefully she will showcase new material too. Box office: 01759 301547 or

Yes, it is Yes: Playing Close To The Edge at York Barbican

Progressing to the past: Yes, York Barbican, Wednesday, 8pm

PROG rock pioneers Yes’s Album Series Tour 2022 celebrates the 50th anniversary of Close To The Edge, the September 1972 album inspired by Siddharta and their “state of mind” at the time.

Wednesday’s concert combines the iconic album in full with further Yes classics, performed by Steve Howe, guitars, Geoff Downes, keyboards, Jon Davison, vocals, Billy Sherwood, bass guitar, and Jay Schellen, drums and percussion. Legendary Yes artwork artist Roger Dean opens the show with a video wall of images and graphics and a reflection on his long history with the band. Tickets remain valid from the postponed May 19 2021 date. Box office:

The Felice Brothers, James, second from left, and Ian, right, with band members Will Lawrence and Jesske Hume

If you are yet to discover…The Felice Brothers, Pocklington Arts Centre, Thursday, 8pm

THE Felice Brothers, the folk rock/country rock band from the Hudson valley of upstate New York, are led by Ian and James Felice, joined on this tour by Will Lawrence on drums and Jesske Hume on bass.

Inspired equally by Woody Guthrie and Chuck Berry, they began in 2006 by playing subway platforms and sidewalks in New York City and have since released ten albums, the latest being 2021’s From Dreams To Dust. Box office: 01759 301547 or

Charge! The Eboracum Roman Festival is on its way

Festival of the week: Eboracum Roman Festival, June 25 and 26, all day

THE Legions of Rome take over York Museum Gardens for a packed weekend of outdoor festivities featuring a Roman Living History Encampment between 10am and 5pm each day; the Kids Army and Roman-themed family activities run by Playful Anywhere from 11am to 3pm on both days. Entry is free.

Head inside the Yorkshire Museum to discover Roman treasures, especially the new exhibition The Ryedale Hoard: A Roman Mystery.  

Authors of Roman fiction and non-fiction will chat and sign books in the Tempest Anderson Hall from 10am to 4pm each day.

The Chemical Brothers: Get ready for Block Rockin’ Beats at Castle Howard

Big beat of the week: The Chemical Brothers, Castle Howard, near York, nearer Malton, June 26; gates open at 5pm 

HEY boy, hey girl, electronic pioneers The Chemical Brothers are taking to the stately-home grass this summer as Manchester big beat duo Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, both 51, galvanize rave diggers.

Expect such dancefloor nuggets as the chart-topping Setting Sun and Block Rockin’ Beats, Hey Boy, Hey Girl, Let Forever Be, It Began In Afrika, Star Guitar, Galvanize, Do It Again. Got To Keep On and Go. Camping will be available. Box office: