Jenny Sealey will bring her acclaimed solo show Self-Raising to Soho Theatre in February before embarking on nine date national tour.
Having spent a lifetime championing stories by Deaf and disabled artists, Sealey now takes to the road to tell her own story. Unravelling the past and facing the future, Self-Raising is a blisteringly honest, laugh-out-loud one-woman show about growing up deaf in a family with secrets.
Self-Raising is at Soho Theatre 6- 17th February and then tours, full listings and ticket information can be found here.
You’re brining Self-Raising to Soho Theatre and then on tour, how would you describe the show?
It is an autobiographical story about families, secrets and about being deaf.
What inspired you to tell this very personal story on stage?
I had no intention of telling my own story. I was going to a play of Anne Fine’s children’s book Flour Babies, but having shared some of my family stuff with a cohort of young theatre makers, they asked ‘Jen is your story going to be in the play’. I said NO of course not. Kate Cross (director of The Egg children’s theatre) said YES it is and it snowballed from there. It is a bit of a shock going back to acting after 31 years but it feels right to be doing this.
You’re also artistic director of Graeae, tell us a little about the company and how this show fits into the company’s ambitions?
Graeae is UK’s flagship deaf and disabled led theatre company. Our mission is to place deaf, disabled and neurodivergent centre stage and we have pioneered a new theatrical language of embedding sign language, creative captioning and audio description into the heart of all our productions. Graeae gives a platform for unheard stories of our community which is where Self -Raising fits in.
It was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe, why do you think audiences reacted to it so well?
The story I tell resonates with so many people as all families have secrets of some sort. I break down the fourth wall talking directly to people and I ask questions for us all to ponder. It is untricksy, accessible and honest. I think people appreciate that too.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges for you in taking the show out on tour?
Taking the show to many different venues is exciting, but challenging in having to quickly adapt to new spaces. My family will see it at Nottingham Playhouse. They are in the story. I think I am most nervous about that performance!
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Self-Raising?
You are in for a real treat and it is only 60 minutes long and you will leave wanting to ask questions to your family.