Day 1 – New Beginnings

It’s Monday morning in the BoP office and there’s a feeling of excitement in the air. We are about to start rehearsals of a brand new play by Lesley Hart, Role Shift.

Role Shift is a crazy, mind-bending comedy set in the casino around the roulette table on a cruise ship. It’s about the struggle to live with and without other people – and what it really means to be ‘me’. A sign language interpreter gets drawn into the action and disrupts the world of the play from a boy meets girl love story, into something very different, magical and strange.

Directed by Garry Robson, Artistic Director of Birds of Paradise and starring Natalie MacDonald as Carrie, Robert Sofetly Gale as Ally and Louise McCarthy as Bernie, and assistant directed by me, Alice Langley.

Role Shift was written over 2015 by Lesley but the project itself and the lively rehearsal process we are about to embark on received funding in 2014. A collaboration between BoP and Oran Mor has been in the pipeline since then as well and so now, finally, the stars have aligned and Birds of Paradise will be bringing a play to A Play, a Pie and a Pint for the very first time on the 16th of May.

Now, more than ever, seems like the perfect time for this play and the process of rehearsal Garry has planned. For us, accessible theatre isn’t just about making theatre for deaf and disabled audiences, but opening up the work and a conversation about creating theatre for the enjoyment of all audiences.

This is an entirely new approach to working for me, and an incredibly exciting time to be involved, to be part of the discussion about integrated performance that can be opened up by producing Role Shift. Members of the public are invited to come and see a snippet of rehearsal on Friday 6th of May between 3-5pm, live-streaming rehearsals and involving theatre-makers from across Glasgow and beyond.

The play is incredibly funny, moving and strange. After an energetic read-through, we had a chat with Lesley about characters, the world of the play and the relationship between a BSL interpreter (‘terps) and their audiences. Natalie’s an experienced signer and has worked on many different production – watch this space for an interview with her later this week! – and talked to us about expectations of signers in different theatres.

What’s clear is this is going to be a play and a rehearsal process like no other. We have two weeks to rehearse a beautiful, mad whirlwind of a play like the spin of a roulette table and try to glimpse it through the eyes of each one of our audience members. Round and round the little ball goes, and where it lands, nobody knows!

More details to follow and check back for interviews with members of the cast and creative team later in the week.
For further details about our open rehearsal, please contact Michelle via or 07967 181 227.