Deafinitely Theatre, Birmingham Rep and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre present

 The Promise

By Paula Garfield and Melissa Mostyn

About the show 

Rita is really confused.

She can’t understand why the deaf education system she’s tirelessly championed throughout her teaching career is getting worse and worse, or why there is only one care home in the whole of England that looks after people in her language. On the Isle of Wight. 

She’s also confused about where her family is, and why she can’t remember where the milk goes… 

This striking world première from the nationally acclaimed British theatre company Deafinitely Theatre (The Vagina Monologues, Everyday and 4.48 Psychosis) is inspired by the extraordinary experiences of deaf people living with dementia. 

Written by Paula Garfield and Melissa Mostyn, The Promise is directed by Paula Garfield in the company’s renowned highly visual style combining British Sign Language and English.


Reviews | Tour | Cast and Creatives Watch | Gallery | Panel Event



‘Stunning and poetic, this show is an inclusive masterpiece of visual theatre.’

‘Anna Seymour’s portrayal of Rita is breath-taking; it leaves a lasting impression.’

‘Poetic, sensitive and fragile this is a piece that will leave a lasting impact.’

West End Best Friend


‘The team has crafted the most beautiful piece of art, this show deserves to be seen by the masses’

‘It is an empowering representation of the possibilities of theatre.’ 

Theatre and Tonic


‘A powerful, moving and important piece of theatre’

What’s On Live


‘An engaging, necessary play that depicts experiences which are hugely underrepresented.

It's rarely an easy watch, but it’s an important one.’

Broadway World


‘A strong cast, a simple set, and the projection of words,

made it accessible to all. Deafinitely Theatre introduced me to a new world.’

Reviews Hub


The Rep, Birmingham

6 April - 13 April 2024

Relaxed: Thu 11 Apr 2pm

Post-show discussion

There will be a post-show discussion after the 7pm performance on Fri 12 Apr.

Book here

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Northern Stage

19 April - 20 April

Book here

Home Manchester

25 April - 27 April

Book here

Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London

30 April - 11 May 2024

Chilled Environment Performance: Wednesday 08 May, 2.45pm

Join us for a post-show Q&A after the evening performance on 03 May.

Book here

Meet our cast!


Anna Seymour

Anna Seymour is a profoundly Deaf Australian born dance artist and performer based in London. Anna is a professional dancer, trained in contemporary dance, and is a dancer with Candoco Dance Company, an international dance company of disabled and non-disabled dancers. Anna has been dancing and touring internationally with Candoco since September 2020. Prior to moving to London, Anna lived in Melbourne for 14 years where she built her career as a freelance artist, teacher, producer. As a dancer, Anna has worked with different choreographers in Australia, the UK and Europe as well as creating her own work. She is also touring her work, SPIN, an interactive dance rave event with three Deaf hosts (Anna Seymour, Chris Fonseca and Raffie Julien) and a DJ. As an actor, Anna has worked for theatre (Deafferent Theatre, Melbourne and Deafinitely Theatre's Vagina Monologues, London) and TV (Get Krack!n, ABC TV, Melbourne). Anna is absolutely thrilled about being part of The Promise, and is looking forward to the new challenges and learning that it will bring.

Louis Neethling

Louis Neethling trained at The National School of the Arts (NSA) in South Africa and RADA. 

Theatre credits include: See No Evil (NSA); An African Tale (NSA)

Film and Television credits include: L’oeil et la Main (Point du Jour/France TV5); DTV (The New Production/SABC); Shakies (SABC ); Sign Here (SABC) 

Louis is an award-winning director who started his TV career in 1993, as a children's presenter on the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) and was nominated for an Artes Award. 

Louis has worked at the BBC as a director/assistant producer on various factual programmes. 

In 2007 Louis started his own production company, MJP (Mutt & Jeff Pictures), which produces films and television in BSL. Louis' company has made 40 award-winning dramas, 5 award-winning documentaries and 2 series of the first ever sign language sitcom in the world, Small World.

James Boyle

James Boyle, a dedicated deaf artist, and advocate, is currently refining his acting skills at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. 

Paving the way, he proudly holds the distinction of being the first deaf man accepted into this esteemed institution, contributing to the rich diversity of the theatrical world.

James will be making his on stage debut as part of Deafinitely Theatre’s production of The Promise.

Erin Siobhan Hutching

Erin Siobhan Hutching trained at Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York, Melbourne Actors Lab in Australia and University of Canterbury in New Zealand.    Theatre credits include: Barrier(s) (National Theatre); Treasure Island (Derby Theatre); Telethon (Talk Show / Shoreditch Town Hall) The Process (Bunker Theatre); 4.48 Psychosis (Deafinitely Theatre / New Diorama); peeling (UK tour), People of the Eye (UK tour), A Midsummer Night's Dream (German tour), Macbeth (1623 Theatre Company), Boy in a Dress (Battersea Arts Centre/ UK tour).   Film & Television credits include: Eastenders (BBC); Deaf Funny (BSLBT), The Ballad of Des and Mo (Hello Camera).   Erin is a lead artist with The DH Ensemble theatre company, whose work has been developed with National Theatre Studio, Northern Stage, Battersea Arts Centre, The Yard and Liberty Festival. She is also an associate artist with 1623 Theatre Company.  


Co-Writer & Director – Paula Garfield
Co-Writer – Melissa Mostyn
Associate Director – Lisa Kelly
Set & Costume Designer –
Paul Burgess
Lighting Designer – Holly Ellis
Sound Designer – Marie Zschommler
Video Designer –
Ben Glover
Associate Video Designer – Douglas Baker
Movement Director – Angela Gasparetto
BSL Director – David Sands

BSL Translator – William Grint
Voice Coach – Zoe Littleton

Production Staff

Production Manager – Charlotte Ranson
Touring Technician – Myles Robinson
Stage Manager (on book) –
Gemma Scott
Assistant Stage Manager –
Francesca Osimani
Costume Supervisor – Isobel Pellow

Deafinitely Theatre

Executive Director – Frankie George
Artistic Director – Paula Garfield
Senior Producer – Conrad Lynch
Projects Manager – Sophie Flack
Administrator – Catalina Corbett
Communications Officer – Jasmine Whipps
Youth Coordinator – Dilara Earle
Fundraising Consultant – Anna Coombs
Finance Consultant – Jodie Cramphorn
PR – Natalie Yalden for Tandem
Press & Marketing – Kate Morely PR
Accountancy – Simpson Wreford LLP


Deafinitely Theatre announces the show!


Rehearsal Gallery

Production Gallery

Panel Event

On Thursday 25th April 2024, after the performance we will have a panel Q&A event at HOME Manchester with The Promise! Audience members can join our Artistic Director, Paula Garfield as she chats with Dr Emma Ferguson-Coleman and Avril Hepner, both experts regarding deaf people living with dementia. A reminder that this Q&A event will be in BSL without an English voice-over.

Dr Emma Ferguson-Coleman is a Research Fellow, currently funded by Alzheimer’s Society, based in the Social Research with Deaf people research group (SORD) at the University of Manchester studying Deaf carers’ needs in supporting a Deaf or hearing person with dementia. Emma has worked with the Deaf community all her working life, as she is passionate about breaking down barriers to effective healthcare provision for Deaf BSL users and their families.

Avril Hepner is a Deaf native BSL user and comes from Deaf family. She is passionate about BSL. She currently works for the British Deaf Association (BDA) and for the last 19 years has been their BSL Scotland Manager. She has also worked as an advocate for the Deaf Community and campaigned for the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015. Avril is currently working on a project funded by the Equality and Human Rights Fund (EHRF), alongside public services such as Local Authorities/Councils and NHS Boards in Scotland. She has a personal passion for dementia related work, having cared for her Deaf father, who lived with dementia. Avril set up the Dementia Project for BDA Scotland; this remains the leading Deaf-dementia project in UK. She has developed a range of BSL resources to educate Deaf community members about dementia, and also helped develop the BSL Dementia Toolkit, together with Deaf carers and stakeholders. She secured funding for dementia research within care homes in Scotland, in partnership with the University of Manchester, a piece of work which resulted in the creation of a comprehensive report, with recommendations relevant to care homes everywhere.

Booking for this event has now closed.