Shakespeare series

portia oneThe Idea

2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of Shakespeare giving rise to a whole host of special exhibitions and events throughout the country. The Bankside Gallery will be showing an exhibition of Shakespeare inspired prints in June made by members of the RE, (the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers).

This subject appeals to me and I  decided at the beginning of the year to make a series of prints using deaf actors or models performing extracts of Shakespeare roles.

My first model was Phyllisha Johnson, a partially hearing lady who takes part in church worship, sometimes using BSL and SignDance. I asked Phyllisha to sign one of Portia’s speeches from the Merchant of Venice. Portia assumes the role of a lawyer’s apprentice to deliver this speech and dresses accordingly.

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath; it is twice blest, It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes………’

I hired a tudor woman’s costume to photograph, to add to the image, to represent Portia’s hidden identity. I’ve had fun arranging the costume in various ways……..

and trying various ideas for incorporating all the different elements…………portia backdrop with Felicia with drawing

portia backdrop

2 thoughts on “Shakespeare series

  1. I think this is a very creative way to commemorate Shakespeare. Even after 400 years people are still coming up with different ways to keep these plays alive, for all people. I think it would be so cool to watch a play intended for blind or deaf people and see how they go about performing it. (Plus it would give me a reasone to learn sign language)


  2. I believe that this is a great way to appreciate Shakespeare and celebrate his works in a creative manner. Now that it has been four-hundred years after his death, I find it to be the perfect time to honor him and his literature. This is a way to celebrate his life after so many years but with a modern twist. Using deaf actors and models could not be a more perfect way to express Shakespeare’s works on the anniversary of his death.


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