Kaite O'Reilly

Research through practice

Alternative Dramaturgies, from a Disability Perspective

The project explored and researched alternative dramaturgies in performance writing informed by a Disability perspective, identifying and collaborating with Deaf and Disabled theatre practitioners already working in non-traditional ways. The project explored and analysed how disability ‘writes’, examining the corporeality of performance texts which are bilingual (signed/spoken languages). The fellowship resulted in both scholarly and public outcomes, including performances, sharing of work-in-progress and essays. Finally, the Department of Drama hosted an international symposium in 2006, with showings of major new work.

Winter 2004 / Spring 2005
Work in progress: As Meat Loves Salt – the language of love

The eroticisation of sign language: sensually corporeal or ephemeral and abstract?
A sharing of work-in-progress in London/Exeter: The culmination of a series of workshop experimentations with collaborators Jeni Draper (Hearing performer/ theatre sign interpreter) and renowned Deaf performer/BSL specialist Jean St Clear.

22-25 November 2004
Off the Page
– DaDa Fest
Leading a series of masterclasses, developing Deaf and Disabled performance writers. In association with NWDAF and Everyman Theatre, Liverpool.

15-19 November 2004
Brief description of project for Liverpool Biennial Live Art Festival at the Bluecoats Art Centre:

This 'work in progress' is a fusion of live art and experimental performance practice from a Deaf and Disability perspective. 'Silent Rhythm' is a multi-sensory exploration of space, smell, text, and choreography. This collaboration between writer Kaite O'Reilly, dancer Denise Armstrong, and Visual artist Alison Jones is informed by their sensory impairments, using them as a source of inspiration for creativity. Utilizing written and spatial languages- 'what words look like in the air'- combined with Deaf choreography, harnessing the 'inner tempo; the silent rhythm' within an installation. The live art performance transforms, and possibly erases, aspects of the original installation.

The installation and performance will occur in the week of 15th November 2004, final dates to be confirmed

2004 Summer / Autumn
Ambushed by Time
– BBC Radio 4 Friday Night Theatre
A specially commissioned radio drama exploring amnesia.
Writer: Kaite O’Reilly
Director: Roland Jaquarello

  • Radio Review - Drama: Ambushed by Time by Kaite O'Reilly
    The Stage and Television Today Thursday 5th August 2004

    An actor cast as a terminal patient in Casualty can count on a shortage of dialogue and an abundance of medical props. There are no such constraints in radio drama, which over the past fortnight offered more deathbed scenes than the average TV medical soap. A comatose woman demonstrated lucid thought, a cancer sufferer mentally tap-danced her way into the next world, a stroke victim gurgled meaningfully.The most poignant play did not feature imminent death but the living death of acute memory loss. Kaite O'Reilly's Ambushed By Time moved into metaphysical realms but was never purely abstract. The two couples struggling to cope were fully-fleshed. This was as much due to four moving performances as the subtle script. Owen Teale, playing Tom in a grave and arresting tone, said "all we are is DNA and anecdotes". His wife Katrin had lost her memory and chance of having a child in a motoring accident 20 years earlier. She was played by Angharad Rees, who brought out the vulnerability in a woman who could not remember the death of her mother and was shocked every morning that she seemed to have aged two decades overnight. What made the performance strong was that Rees tapped into Katrin's personality, preserved somewhere beyond the ravages of her brain.
    Ronan Vibert was Joe, a former plumber whose pre-senile dementia was fast eroding his present as well as his past - he would look around and not know what he was doing. Catherine McCormack played his wife Sarah with a melancholy steadfastness, noting that "all our intimacy is in the past". When Sarah and Tom, united by their common plight, began an affair it did not seem a convenience of the plot and brought as much guilt and misery as escapism.

2004 Spring
Spring issue of DAIL
(National Disability Arts quarterly)
Article on developing Disability culture as a tool for change, with specific reference to work with writernet and the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy

24 February 2004
Double Exposure – CreativePeople
– professional development for arts and crafts. Access, Disability and Inclusion conference, London.
Presenting examples of good practice in developing Deaf and Disabled writers in the UK and India, with long-term collaborators Jonathan Meth, director of writernet and Jamie Beddard, associate director of Graeae Theatre company.

16-23 February 2004
British Council and Indian Institute for Cerebral Palsy, Kolkota, India.

Invited to lead an integrated workshop for Disabled and non-Disabled writers, focussing on writing drama for television: cultural activity as advocacy. Assisted by Jamie Beddard, associate director of Graeae Theatre Company.

November 2003 - 2006
North West Disability Arts Forum
– DaDaFest
Off the Page: an annual event, beginning November 03, leading a series of developmental workshops and masterclasses for Deaf and Disabled performance writers

November 2003
Tate: Imaging the Body

Chair of a day long seminar on disability and art, at the Tate Liverpool, around Senseless/sinloss exhibition at Blue Coats and Arts, Lies and Videotape at the Tate, on behalf of North West Disability Arts Forum (NWDAF).

October 2003
Graeae, British Council Ireland and Project Theatre, Dublin.
Performance of ‘peeling’ by Kaite O’Reilly at Project, Dublin, performed by Graeae Theatre company and subsequent conference on Disability, hosted by British Council, Ireland