A NEW British Sign Language adapted musical The Princess and the Pauper is to come to the Mowlem Theatre in Swanage later this month.

Leading this fully BSL-integrated production will be Silent Witness actress Rhiannon Jones as Tess Canty and Hannah Brownlie from Amazon series The Offenders as Bess Tudor.

This exciting new production enhances the magic and musicality of the story with British Sign Language and incorporates deaf* and hearing actors, BSL-inspired choreography and sign song.

Katherine Mount, producer with Hordern Ciani, said: “As a professional actress and singer with a deaf child, I was profoundly affected by my initial belief that Ethan would never be able to access music.

“Alongside advice to keep background noise to a minimum to encourage listening skills, when Ethan was still a baby, I stopped playing music and found singing an emotional impossibility for years. But when sign song came along, it was life changing.

“After many years of struggling to find accessible shows to take my son to watch, producing theatre myself and experimenting with the use of British Sign Language in song, the idea for a fully integrated musical was developed and The Princess and the Pauper was born.”

In-keeping with the story which interrogates a society plagued by inequities, Hordern Ciani has worked to create an equal experience through the production.

By gender swapping the title roles and by including a deaf actress among the small cast of five, the company has created more equality on stage.

The inclusion of an integrated interpreter and the choreographing of all songs with sign song has created an equal experience for deaf and hearing audiences.

Director Robert Marsden added: “I am delighted to be returning to direct for Hordern Ciani once more. Reframing the Mark Twain story with a re-gendered approach and setting it in Elizabeth I's reign allows for a fresh telling.

“The piece is about survival, and the fear that comes with seemingly not being able to survive outside of your own world, class, and environment, which of course these characters learn that they are able to do.

“Our production goes back to the origins of storytelling - our six actors, including deaf and hearing actors and integrated signers, tell the story of these two young girls, thrust into new situations, aiming to return to their original habitats, forging new friendships as they come of age and understand the world around them.”

The show will feature at the Swanage theatre on Shore Road from Tuesday August 17 to Saturday August 28, with tickets starting from £8.

To find out more and book tickets, visit https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/the mowlem-theatre/e-zjbdmk.