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Caroline Parker performing in Signs of a Diva

Signs of a Diva

  • Audio Description
  • Open Captioning
  • ISL Interpreted
  • Loop System

National Tour, 18th – 25th February 2014
By Nona Sheppard
Starring Caroline Parker
Directed by Jenny Sealey

No-one remembers mousey old Sue, who runs a funeral parlour in a little market town. No-one guesses she’s a Diva fanatic, in love with the songs of Whitney Houston, Dusty Springfield, Billie Holiday and Gloria Gaynor – not until she’s asked to sign the songs at a funeral.

Inspired by her performance at the funeral, nightclub owner Harry invites her to take to the stage with a cabaret slot. Putting together her favourite singer and her favourite wine, she adopts the stage name of Tammy Frascati, dons her false eyelashes, and starts a journey from funeral parlour to stardom, and possibly romance…

All performances include signed songs, captioned text and audio description.

Tour Dates:
axis: Ballymun, Dublin 9
Tuesday 18th Feb 8pm

An Grianan, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Thursday 20th Feb 8pm

Ballina Arts Centre, Co Mayo
Saturday 22nd Feb 8pm

Mill Theatre Dundrum, Dublin 16
Tuesday 25th Feb 8pm

To accompany the Signs of a Diva national tour, Arts & Disability Ireland and Graeae are offering workshops with Caroline Parker.
These fun workshops are for sign language users who want to be more creative with language and develop skills to present songs.  You will learn how to express emotion, character and the variations you can choose in translations. Physical storytelling skills are developed which can also be used outside sign songs.

Signs of a Diva is presented by Arts and Disability Ireland as part of the Arts and Disability Touring Network with support from The Arts Council, the British Council and the Xilinx Inc. Corporate Community Engagement fund.

Caroline Parker in Signs of a Diva

A scene from Signs of a Diva with Caroline Parker

Caroline Parker performing in Stars of a Diva

Caroline Parker performing as Tammy in Signs of a Diva

Watch: An extract from Signs of a Diva by Graeae Theatre Company with Caroline Parker

Tammy Frascati performing signed song during Signs of A Diva

All performances of Signs of a Diva include signed songs, captioned text and audio description

Read more about accessing the arts for audiences with disabilities

Watch: Audience feedback from ‘Signs of a Diva’, a Graeae & TRSE co-production at Theatre Royal 2010

Signed Song Workshop with Caroline Parker

Signed song workshop with Caroline Parker during national tour of Signs of a Diva

Artist Biographies

Caroline is a UK performer who has a long association with Graeae and is a core part of their street arts programme. She has toured extensively with Neti Neti, Theatre Centre, Deafinitely Theatre and Fittings Media Arts. She played Sue Lee in the 4th series of BBC See Hear's drama Switch. Most recently she was seen playing a lip reading expert, Florence, on BBC’s undercover detective drama series Murphy’s Law.
In her cabaret act, fondly known as The Silent Diva, she performs well known recorded songs such as Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' to Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ around the British Isles playing such venues as Glastonbury Festival, WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) and The Liberty Festival at Trafalgar Square, London. Her act makes music and songs accessible to deaf people and sign language accessible to hearing people. Caroline has just been awarded an MBE for her services to Disability Arts.

Nona Shepphard is a UK playwright. She read Classics at King’s College before she began her theatrical life as an actor back in her hometown of Liverpool for two years at The Playhouse. Having made her directorial debut at the Nuffield Theatre Southampton, (Poliakoff’s Hitting Town, Pinter’s The Caretaker), she continued to direct until, when she was Associate Director at the Chester Gateway Theatre, she wrote her first play - All Soul’s Eve. Since leaving Chester in 1982, she has been working freelance as a writer and director for many companies both in the UK and abroad, with over a hundred productions and forty commissioned plays to her credit. Her plays for young people, which have received several awards, have been seen in North America and Europe, with Getting Through visiting Toronto for three successive years, and Brainpower playing at Oryel in Russia for four years.

Recent writing includes: You’re Thinking About Doughnuts, Forbidden Fruit and Tobacco Road (Nottingham Playhouse), Cafe Vesuvio, (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Crazy Lady (Lincoln), Idle Pop (Quicksilver Theatre Co) In the Parlour With the Ladies, In the Bunker with the Ladies, Signs of a Diva (Drill Hall, London); for Quicksilver Theatre Company, A Tale for Winter.

In 1994  she won the Calouste Gulbenkian director training bursary with Interplay Theatre Company  There she directed Sea Changes, Stepping Stones and a new opera Mad Meg both by Mike Kenny.  She became Graeae’s Artistic Director in 1998.
Since then, Jenny has directed all of Graeae’s plays including Fittings: The Last Freakshow by Mike Kenny, The Changeling, Diary of an Action Man by Mike Kenny (a co-production with Unicorn Children’s Theatre), On Blindness by Glyn Cannon (with Paines Plough and Frantic Assembly).  Other favourites include Bent by Martin Sherman, Static by Dan Rebellato (with Suspect Culture), Flower Girls by Richard Cameron (a co-production with New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich) and Whiter Than Snow by Mike Kenny, (a co- production with Birmingham Rep),  Static by Dan Rebellato (co proudcution with Susppect Culture). Signs of a Diva by Nona Shepphard (co production with Theatre Royal Stratford East) and Ian Dury inspired musical Reasons to be Cheerful by Paul Sirett (co production with Theatre Royal Stratford East and New Wolsey Theatre)

She has directed and designed The Fall of the House of Usher adapted by Steven Berkoff,  Into The Mystic by Peter Wolf, ‘Peeling’ – a play by Kaite O’Reilly which won the best new play award in Wales, and Blasted by Sarah Kane which was critics choice in 2006/07.

Over the last few years Jenny has developed a new street arts strand with Australia’s Strange Fruit sway pole company placing deaf and disabled people on sway poles for the first time. Against The Tide, was a new commission for the Greenwich and Docklands Festival 2009 and The Garden an Unlimited commission for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad playing outside QEH.  Other outdoor work includes The Iron Man by Ted Hughes which was part of Without Walls festival.

Jenny and her joint CEO Judith Kilvington led a £2.6 million redevelopment of disused space in Hackney in to Bradbury Studios – Graeae’s new home.  The Company moved in to the premises in June 2009.

Jenny was awarded an MBE in 2009 for services to disability arts. She was appointed Artistic Advisor for Unlimited, the programme of work celebrating disability, arts, culture and sport as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.  Her most ambitious role to date has been joint Artistic Director of  the Paralympics Opening Ceremony.

Graeae is a force for change in world-class theatre, breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions and boldly placing Deaf and disabled artists centre stage. Graeae champions accessibility and provides for new generation of Deaf and disabled talent through the creation of trail-blazing theatre, at home and internationally. In promoting and producing world-class theatre, led by Deaf and disabled directors, writers and performers, Graeae seeks to dismantle barriers to employment in the arts for Deaf and disabled people across the UK.

British Council: Arts & Disability in Europe
One of the five key programmes of our Arts work in the EU region focusses on an extraordinary generation of excellent Deaf and disabled artists making work in the UK and across Europe. Building on years of experience supporting British Deaf and disabled artists to develop relationships with artists, venues and audiences in the EU, the British Council is now coordinating a region wide project.

The programme promotes the creative case for diversity: that work by disabled artists is artistically exciting and innovative, is informed by a unique and valuable experience of the world, and enriches and grows the arts sector and its audiences as a result.

The aims of this region wide project are:

To increase the number of Deaf and disabled artists programmed, presented and commissioned at the highest
level in Europe, and to see them programmed, presented and commissioned as part of ‘mainstream programming’, and in many art forms.

• To support Deaf and disabled artists and arts managers as leaders and designers of projects rather than only as
employees or participants.

• To develop relationships between UK and European organisations which are long-term, in-depth, and based on

• To offer unique opportunities for skills and professional development to disabled artists and aspiring artists.

• To support artists and organisations to develop audiences for work by disabled artists.

New Website!

In order to help excellent disabled artists profile their work, and to help promoters and venues learn more about ways to enable access to the arts for disabled artists and audiences, the British Council has launched a new website: www.disabilityartsinternational.org

We are actively seeking artists and companies to profile on the website, as well as compelling case studies of
organisations which have made profound transformations in developing access to disabled people.



About British Council

British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work in over 100 countries, connecting millions of people with the United Kingdom through programmes and services in the English language, the Arts, Education and Society.

Our work in the Arts involves the very best British and international artistic talent. We help increase audiences for
international work in the UK and for UK work globally. We bring artists together and support the development of skills and policy in the arts and creative industries.

Website: www.britishcouncil.ie
Twitter: @ieBritish
Facebook: British Council Ireland



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