Meet The Vagina Monologues Cast Marking this year’s International Sign Language Day, our special charity fundraising performance will be presented in British Sign Language, spoken English and captions. The performance will raise much-needed funds for the charity Deaf-initely Women, which provides essential services to make sure all deaf and deafblind women are able to live free from abuse. Presented for the first time in a BSL performance at this scale; The Vagina Monologues is an unmissable celebration of womanhood and sexuality. Meet our cast! Keep reading for full biographies! Book tickets now Hackney Empire, LondonSaturday 23 September 2023 Time 7:30pm Tickets £25 www.hackneyempire.co.uk Cast Abigail Gorman Abigail Gorman is a human rights activist and a former qualified Young People Violence Advisor, supporting young people who face harm from violence and abuse. She currently works as a Policy and Public Affairs manager, campaigning for stronger laws and regulations in relation to domestic abuse. In her free time, she enjoys going to theatres because it encourages people explore and reflect on the human experience, addresses social issues, challenge norms, and provoke thought and discussions. It also has the power to inspire and connect people on a deep level, which she hopes will happen through the powerful production of The Vagina Monologues. Amy Morton Amy's daily life is spent raising a somewhat wild child, and a somewhat human dog! BSL storytelling is something she loves to share with her child and she uses it as an opportunity to express her emotions. Amy has a 'go with the flow' approach to life, this has allowed her to grab any opportunities that will give her a chance to learn and develop new skills. Amy commented "I am truly honoured to be a part of this production. The Vagina Monologues is a wonderful opportunity but it is also championing an important cause, Deaf-initely Women. A charity working for deaf women to live lives free from domestic abuse." Anna Seymour Anna Seymour is a deaf dance artist based in London. Having graduated with a BA in Dance from Deakin University in Melbourne, Anna has pursued a career as a freelance dance artist, actor, teacher and producer. She is currently a dancer with Candoco Dance Company and has been dancing and touring with Candoco since 2020. Carolina Delgado Espejo Carolina is originally from Peru and now calls the UK home. She's from a deaf family and grew up within the deaf community, with sign language being her first language. Carolina is passionate about teaching and language development. She now works as a British Sign Language tutor in deaf schools as well as with hearing adult learners. She is proud to be a deaf adult role model to many deaf young people when teaching in various schools including Oak Lodge and Blanche Nevile. She also enjoys teaching hearing people interested in BSL, guiding their development and learning. Watching someone go from scratch to fluency in BSL is something that gives her a great sense of pride. Carolina wants communication to be improved between deaf and hearing people. Carolina enjoys salsa dancing and participates in different salsa events, she is also a keen badminton player and participates in a hearing league as well as a deaf team with Remark! Clare Edwards Clare Edwards has over 20 years of experience interpreting performances and theatre of all kinds throughout the UK, specialising particularly in music, Shakespeare and integrated interpreting. She has interpreted productions at the RSC, the Globe, the Barbican and the National Theatre, and at many other venues ranging from local community stages through to rock concerts and arena tours. Her many shows include The Tempest, Macbeth, Wendy & Peter Pan, A Christmas Carol, The Magician’s Elephant, The Boy in the Dress, Tartuffe, The Provoked Wife, and many more. She has regularly interpreted at the Reading Festival, Download Festival, and BST Festival and has recently interpreted for the Glastonbury Festival and for the King’s Coronation Concert. Eleni Botonaki Eleni Botonaki is originally from Greece and moved to the UK when she was six. She is currently working as a teaching assistant at Frank Barnes School. After being diagnosed with cancer, Eleni’s outlook on life was refreshed and she now lives her life to its fullest everyday and being a part of The Vagina Monologues is another dream she wants to accomplish. Erin Siobhan Hutching Erin Siobhan Hutching is an actor and qualified BSL interpreter. She has previously worked with Deafinitely Theatre on 4.48 Psychosis, as well as their recent research and development phase of their next production. Other credits include Barrier(s) at National Theatre and Treasure Island at Derby Theatre. Erin is taking part in The Vagina Monologues as she believes we must work together to support victims of domestic violence. Fifi Garfield Fifi Garfield started acting when she was 19 with an amateur drama group called London Deaf Drama Group. One of her highlights was performing at the Globe in Deafinitely Theatre's A Midsummer Night's Dream as Hermia in 2014, directed by Paula Garfield. She is delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Paula on a number of projects including Contractions, Horrible Histories: Dreadful Deaf and Everyday. Fifi is excited to take part in The Vagina Monologues. Fifi recently starred as ‘Jenny' in the new drama series for BSL Zone The Coffee Morning Club. Her latest TV show is hosting the very first deaf game show on BSLBT's Sign2Win which has been extremely popular. For more information about Fifi visit www.accessuk.agency. Jacqui Beckford Jacqui Beckford has had a varied career, beginning as a Communication Support Worker for Deaf students in FE and HE, simultaneously supporting deaf artists in the theatre, performance and arts domain via Graeae Theatre. This was fertile ground to develop and hone her skills becoming a prolific performance interpreter. In 2019, with a view to addressing the underrepresentation of black and brown sign language interpreters working in the theatre and performance domain Jacqui organised and ran a workshop (using her pedagogy). Jacqui has appeared in several short films and one episode of RUSH, a TV drama made for Channel 4. Theatre and performance might be Jacqui’s specialism along with mental health, but she works in all domains. Jasmine Whipps Jasmine Whipps (Jazzy) is a deaf content creator in the UK. The main aim of her online content is to spread positivity about life as a deaf person and enable hearing people to find out more about deaf awareness and sign language. Jazzy has worked in TV with a number of brands in commercials, as a presenter and a performer. She is very passionate about working with brands to raise deaf awareness. She has completed acting training with The National Youth Theatre at Rose Bruford in 2022 and The Access to Acting Course 2022 at RADA. Jazzy was keen to be involved with this performance of The Vagina Monologues as she feels it is important for us to love our bodies. Jazzy is also keen to raise awareness for Deaf-initely Women to ensure there is support for survivors of domestic violence. Laura Goulden Laura is a performer and BSL interpreter. She trained at University of Reading & International School of Corporeal Mime. Her recent credits include: Much Ado About Nothing, Ramps on the Moon, Gruffalo in BSL, Tall Stories and Robin Hood & The Major Oak, Derby Theatre. Laura is the co-founder of Handprint Theatre where deaf and hearing artists making work for deaf and hearing families. Laura's dream is to continue working for spaces for deaf and hearing artists to work together equitably and creatively. She also hopes for more spaces for exciting female characters to tell challenging stories. Laura is excited to be a part of this event that empowers women, with talented women, sharing women’s stories. Lucy Clark Lucy is 42 years old and living in Scotland. She is a passionate advocate in Domestic Abuse and mental health with PTSD. Lucy is a research assistant for Justisigns2, based on GBV and BSL accessibility for the front lines. Lucy is a woman with mouth like a sailor and can't wait to bring respect to tits and fannies in The Vagina Monologues. Maria Chamoun Maria is 20 years old, a hearing actor using sign language for nine years. Having grown up in the deaf community, Maria has previously been part of Deafinitely Youth Theatre for six years. Maria is on a journey to become a theatre BSL interpreter and believes that BSL is a beautiful and expressive language! She has been in previous productions that have integrated BSL into the performance which are amazing. Maria believes that it is important for theatre to be enjoyed and made accessible for everyone. Moona Mohammed Moona is a Somali British Deaf Black Feminist who has a passion for the arts and photography. She loves to travel and shares body positive ethos wherever she goes. Working with young deaf people to prevent and heal the effects of abuse is an area she is highly trained about. Representation, diversity and inclusion are pillars of Moona's passions and although she has never acted nor been on a stage, she is so excited to be involved to show solidarity and support to those all communities of deaf victims and survivors of domestic abuse. #ViolenceIsNeverOkay. Natasha Ryan Natasha is a mixed of Irish and East African Indian origin, born in London. During her spare time, she enjoys arts, travel and playing sports, Natasha fulfilled her dream of playing football for England. Her passion now is photography and acting. She has had acting roles on tv and in short films including Rocket of Summer and FGM. Natasha is honoured to be a part of this show as she believs it is vital to raise awareness for deaf communities and to increase IDVA support available for deaf survivors of domestic abuse. Olivia Jordan-Caws Olivia Jordan-Caws is 18 years old, raised by a deaf family in Scotland. She starred in the heartwarming holiday film Tree Fairy, directed by Louise Neethling. Olivia aspires to be an in-vision interpreter in the future. Olivia is taking part in this production because as a woman she believes it is critical that we all work together to protect and support survivors of domestic abuse. Rachael Merry Rachael Merry joins the cast of The Vagina Monologues as the monologues are beautiful as well as promoting women empowerment. Rachael feels very proud to share them! Raphaella Julien Raphaella Julien is a professional deaf dancer, actor, BSL director and movement director from Manchester. She was born profoundly deaf. She said, "I’ve always dreamt of being a performer as I love the sense of freedom it gives me and being away from the realities of the barriers that I face every single day. I hadn't seen any role models while growing up either so therefore I decided to become one". Raphaella is participating in The Vagina Monologues to lend her support to the charities that offer domestic abuse services for deaf people across the UK - a vital service. Sanchayeeta lyer Sanchayeeta Iyer holds a BA (hon) degree from SOAS and King's College in London, where she gained valuable knowledge and insights into global development issues. Driven by her passion for inclusivity, prior to embarking on her PhD journey, Sanchayeeta contributed her expertise as a member of the Deaf Ethnic Women's Association in London, where she worked to promote the well-being of deaf ethnic women. Sanchayeeta's commitment to making a difference led her to engage in voluntary work in Manila, Philippines, where she actively collaborated with various deaf organisations, including the Philippine Federation of the Deaf. This hands-on experience deepened her understanding of the challenges faced by deaf communities and inspired her to continue her voluntary work as a trustee for a deaf organisation supporting individuals in Burundi and Rwanda. This experience further fuelled her interest, leading her to complete an MSc in Children, Youth, and International Development at Birkbeck College in London. Currently, Sanchayeeta is pursuing her PhD at Heriot-Watt University and is an integral part of the MobileDeaf team. Her research focuses on the experiences of deaf Indian women who migrated to London after marriage and how they establish a sense of belonging in their new city. Yvonne Cobb Yvonne Cobb is a TV presenter and cook and is the first deaf cook to appear on ITVs This Morning and BBC Morning Live. Yvonne also co-host's BBC’s See Hear and last year became the first deaf female reporter on BBC News, as well as, being involved in other exciting projects nationally. Yvonne is a business woman and owns ‘Yumma Food’, where she teaches adults and children about healthy eating. Yvonne is a mother, wife and third generation deaf. She loves DIY/lifestyle, travel, yoga and has recently found a love for cold water swimming! Yvonne is involved in The Vagina Monologues as she has a huge passion for deaf advocacy, including being a positive deaf role model to the community.