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A personal reflection on An Extraodinary Wall O̶F̶ S̶ILE̶N̶C̶E̶

One of our Marketing Officers reflects on seeing Extraordinary Wall O̶F̶ S̶ILE̶N̶C̶E̶ and the issues it raised and what effect it had on him.

Whilst watching Extraordinary Wall O̶F̶ S̶ILE̶N̶C̶E̶, initially I felt a sense awkwardness. Not about the performers nor the performance itself but about the fact I am a hearing person watching something about an experience I have no personal connection with. This concern was washed away as the performance unfolded. Extraordinary Wall O̶F̶ S̶ILE̶N̶C̶E̶ to me is a performance about three people’s personal experiences interwoven with the social context of Britain over the last four decades. It just so happens to be about three people who are d/Deaf. I have learned a lot about our recent history whilst researching and watching Extraordinary Wall O̶F̶ S̶ILE̶N̶C̶E̶ and to that end, it already is a beneficial experience and I have learned something I didn’t know before. I was struck by the similarities in some of the language used to have described the Deaf community with other minority groups. Phrases such as ‘need to be cleansed’ and ‘civilise the savages’ are haunting reminders of persecutions endured by minority groups throughout history. It makes you wonder how different things could have been if knowledge and understanding were prioritised over ignorance and avoidance. The wall of silence around this subject has started to come down. There always has to be a starting point to a wider conversation and this is most certainly that starting point. The performance is a beautiful montage of physical theatre, verbatim testimony and British Sign Language brought together to create a language perfect for exploring the topics presented.

After watching the performance, I was left with lots of questions. What can I do to better improve my knowledge? What can we do as a society to improve things? It made me reflect on my own personal journey of not being able to talk until the age of five and whether or not it worried my parents. I can’t think of many other shows where the subject of the performance leads to a very personal exploration.

This is the kind of theatre that stays with you. It may cause you to ask yourself difficult questions and question your own motives but it’s made an impact on you. Theatre at its very best does this.

Marcus, Marketing Officer

Extraordinary Wall O̶F̶ S̶ILE̶N̶C̶E̶ is at the Corn Exchange Newbury on Wednesday 5 & Thursday 6 February. Click here to find out more about Extraordinary Wall O̶F̶ S̶ILE̶N̶C̶E̶

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