Three actors pose in their individual settings

In association with award-winning theatre company Deafinitely Theatre, Paines Plough present Talking Hands, three bold new films directed by Paula Garfield. I Still Blame Myself by Lianne Herbert, starring Kelsey Gordon; Keeping Hope by Melissa Mostyn, starring Nadia Nadarajah; and Lockdown Hairy written and performed by EJ Raymond, tell inspirational stories of deaf single parents in lockdown.

Locked down in 2020, three deaf single parents are adapting to a new way of living. Lianne finds it difficult to get her little boy out of bed every morning, let alone home school maths when he’d prefer YouTube Kids. On the other side of the UK, a mother has a team of carers for her disabled daughter reduced to the help of one – her nine-year-old son. And with too much time on their hands, EJ is reflecting on big boobs, hairy legs and a life-changing decision. 

These compelling and heart-warming monologues are bravely inspired by personal experiences and filmed entirely in the visual storytelling of British Sign Language. Both heart-breaking and hopeful, Talking Hands is not to be missed. 

Keeping Hope by Melissa Mostyn sees a deaf parent-carer and her nine-year-old son faced with the overwhelming reality of taking on the roles of six daily carers for her disabled daughter in lockdown. Performed by Nadia Nadarajah, this Talking Hands monologue is a heart-warming and inspirational story about hope in the face of adversity.

Lockdown Hairy, written and performed by EJ Raymond, presents the story of a deaf single parent faced with an unexpected opportunity to reflect on their life during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Charming, playful and surprising, this Talking Hands monologue gives a brave insight into parenting, accessibility and gender identity.

I Still Blame Myself by Lianne Herbert tells the story of a deaf single mother in lockdown facing the daily grind of home schooling, parent WhatsApp groups and ignoring the difficult voices in her head. Performed by Kelsey Gordon, this Talking Hands monologue is a brave story about mental health and being a single parent.


Please note that I Still Blame Myself contains sensitive issues including rape and mental health. For further or more in-depth information about content from the team, please email