Talking Hands

In association with award-winning theatre company Deafinitely Theatre, Paines Plough present Talking Hands, five bold new films by deaf writers.

Locked down in the coronavirus pandemic, five deaf people across the UK are adapting to a new way of living. These five compelling and heart-warming monologues are bravely inspired by personal experiences and filmed entirely in the visual storytelling of British Sign Language.

Click the links below to watch the full series.

Talking Hands is directed by Paula Garfield, with photography direction by Becky Bailey and Teresa Garratty, editing by Samuel Dore and Ted Evans, production design by Isobel Baker-Smith and Frankie Bradshaw, music composed by Chris Bartholomew and dramaturgy by Charlotte Bennett and Phillippe Cato.

The Black Death plague was in 1720. The Cholera outbreak was in 1820. The Spanish flu was in 1920. All 100 years apart. Now… 2020. Dara is having their friends around for dinner for the first time since the pandemic began and a lot has happened in the meantime… This powerful and uplifting Talking Hands monologue about gender, sexuality, race and deafness embraces our shared humanity and the simplest of things we take for granted – like a hug with friends.

Abigail Gorman is a writer, educator and human rights activist. She regularly gives seminars and workshops on a range of issues such as deaf cultures and identities, domestic abuse, gender, intersectionality and sexuality.

Bea Webster recently performed in Everyday for the company at New Diorama Theatre. Other recent theatre credits include The Winter’s Tale (RSC), Holding/Holding On (National Theatre of Scotland), peeling (UK tour) and Mother Courage and her Children (Leeds Playhouse).

Samantha is waiting for an important delivery and it’s testing her patience. Everything seems to happen so slowly in lockdown. Sat in her living room, with one eye out of the window, she is surrounded by photos: memories of her family and growing up. It’s the perfect time to reminisce. The Woman I Am is a deeply poignant and inspirational coming of age story about how we become the people we truly are.

Samantha Pearsall is an educator, speaker, writer, and performer. Her debut book, The Woman I Am documents her story from birth, through childhood, teenage years and the first two decades of her life as Richard.

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

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.

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.