Queen's Film and Media

Queen's Film and Media

site header

Event poster

Dramaturgies of Translation:

A Dialogue and Workshop with

Alex Bulmer and Jenny Sealey


Hosted by Queen’s University Department of Film and Media

and H’art Centre


Jenny Sealey and Alex Bulmer’s visit to Kingston offers a unique opportunity to engage with pioneering Deaf and disabled art-activists who have used the arts to advance a more socially just world. On October 5th, participants will dialogue about developments in crip arts, the importance of being an agent in your own story, and the necessity of an aesthetics of radical inclusion. The day long session will reflect on the politics of “being included” in cultural representations--from plays and films, to arts grants and administration, to the very stories we tell about ourselves. On October 6th, we will dramaturge projects by Jenny Sealey, Alex Bulmer, and H’art’s upcoming production of A Gift from Martadella.

Thursday, October 5th, 2017


Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts


Agnes Art Centre Artium

Registration is now closed

Friday, October 6th, 2017


H’art Centre, THE BOX

237 Wellington St, Kingston, ON K7K 0B5

Open to Queen’s community and the public. Space is limited.

Call (613) 545-1392 or email hartstudio@hotmail.com to register. 

All events are wheel chair accessible and ASL interpreted.


Dramaturgies of Translation: Dialogue (Day 1)

Thursday, October 5th, 8:30-4:30PM

Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

Rooms:       Studio 118 (8:30 - 11am),  Film and Media Department Room 329 (11 - 12:15pm)

Agnes Art Centre Atrium (1:15 - 4:30 pm)

8:30-9AM: Sign-in, meet ‘n’ greet

Coffee and nibbles will be provided

9-9:30AM, Welcome: Dramaturgies of Translation

Keren Zaiontz, Department of Film and Media and Cultural Studies

How does art ‘speak’ to its audiences when those audiences do not conform to ableist (and other normative) assumptions? What is essential to the task of translation from sign to spoken word, from text to body, from image to audio description? Our gathering will seek to explore both the politics and practice of translation for the stage from the perspective of Deaf and disabled and intercultural artists.

9:30-11AM, From Translation to Transformation: How to Make Stories ‘Speak’ Across Bodies

Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre

Alex Bulmer, playwright, screenwriter, and actor

Sealey will provide an overview of her directorial practice and the wide-range of performance contexts (from Graeae to global circus arts) in which she seeks to tell stories.

Sealey and Bulmer will discuss their Deaf and disabled-led revisioning of Sarah Kane’s Blasted for Graeae Theatre

11-11:15AM, coffee and tea break

11:15AM-12:15PM, Inclusive Dramaturgies

Alex Bulmer, playwright, screenwriter, and actor

Bulmer will discuss her practice of ‘inclusive dramaturgy’ in works such as the Red Dress Productions’ performance of Promise in The Park. This session will include a structured improvisation that demonstrates how inclusive dramaturgy works.  

12:15PM-1:15PM, Lunch

1:15-2:15PM, Locations of signing at the H’art Centre, Nuit Blanche, and the Stratford Festival

Hayley Hudson, Elizabeth Morris, Theresa Upton, Deaf Spirit Theatre

Deaf Spirit Theatre will discuss the development of works such as The Magic of Visual Language and their recent performance at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche. Elizabeth Morris will reflect on her work at the Stratford Festival as the company’s first Deaf signing actor.

2:15-2:30PM, coffee and tea break

2:30-3:30PM, Performance and Politics: Artists from the Cultural Studies Program and Kingston arts community

Lib Spry, Lisa Figge, Lisa Ravensbergen, Kathryn Mackay

The artists will discuss a project in which they actively resisted dominant cultural norms through specific directing, acting, and dramaturgical choices.

3:30-4:30PM, Concluding discussion facilitated by Yasmine Djerbal and Keren Zaiontz

Dramaturgies of Translation: Workshop (Day 2)

Friday, October 6th, 8:30-4PM

H’art Centre, THE BOX

8:30-9AM: Sign-in, meet ‘n’ greet

Coffee and nibbles will be provided

9AM-1PM, Cripping Postdramatic Theatre

Alex Bulmer and Jenny Sealey will facilitate a workshop that revisions Sarah Kane’s 4:48 Psychosis for Graeae Theatre.

[10:45-11AM, coffee and tea break]

1PM-2PM, Lunch

2PM-4PM, H’art Dramaturgy Session

Script reading and dramaturgy session of A Gift from Martadella facilitated by Kathryn MacKay, Alex Bulmer, and Jenny Sealey

About our international artists

Jenny Sealey picture

Photo credit: Matt Cetti Roberts.  

Jenny Sealey, MBE has been Graeae's Artistic Director since 1997. She has pioneered a new theatrical language and aesthetics of artistic access experimenting with bilingual BSL [British Sign Language] and English, prerecorded BSL, creative captioning, in ear/live audio description methods. Her current international work includes working with Crescer e Viver, setting up circus training for Deaf and disabled people for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Opening Ceremony and Cultural Olympiad; touring Reasons to be Cheerful to Mexico, and directing disabled-led productions in Sri Lanka and Japan. Jenny co-directed the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony alongside Bradley Hemmings. She also won the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award and was named on the Time Out London and Hospital Club's 2012 list of most influential people in the creative industries. http://graeae.org/our-work/ 

Alex Bulmer picture

Alex Bulmer is an award-winning writer, performer and art maker for stage and screen. She is originally from Canada and has worked internationally in theatre, film, radio and circus arts for over 25 years. Bulmer has worked with numerous organizations including Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, CBC, The National Arts Centre, Royal Court, Graeae Theatre Company, APAE Brazil, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and is writer of the AMI award-winning BBC radio 4 adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, writer of SMUDGE, which earned two Best New Play nominations in Canada and was Time Out’s Critics’ Choice during its U.K. premiere, and co-writer of the BAFTA-winning U.K. television series Cast Offs, a disability informed production featuring six lead disabled actors. She is the artistic director and co-founder of the U.K.-based theatre company Invisible Flash; the inclusive dramaturgy contributor to Red Dress Productions’ June, 2017 performance of Promise in The Park; and is currently developing an original song-driven stage play entitled Hush for a U.K. production in 2019. http://www.invisibleflash.co.uk

Participants (in alphabetical order)

Erin Ball (Kingston Circus Arts), Lin Bennett (Arts Advocate), 

Jeni Draper (BSL interpreter, Fingersmiths Theatre), Lisa Figge (Theatre Artist, Cultural Studies), Michelle Girouard (Theatre Artist), Hayley Hudson (Deaf Spirit Theatre), Kathryn MacKay (H’art Centre and PeerLess Productions), Elizabeth Morris (Deaf Spirit Theatre), Heidi Penning (Human Rights Office), Lisa Ravensbergen (Theatre Director and Actor, Cultural Studies), Kim Renders (Drama Department), Natalie Rewa (Drama Department), Lib Spry (Theatre Director, Cultural Studies), Holly Treddenick (Circus Artist), Theresa Duffley-Upton (Deaf Spirit Theatre)

Event Organizers

Yasmine Djerbal, Cultural Studies Program

Keren Zaiontz, Film and Media and Cultural Studies Program


We would like to acknowledge the support of Queen’s University Office of the Provost — Chancellor Dunning Trust Lectureship, Principal’s Development Fund – Visiting Scholars Program, Agnes Art Centre, Cultural Studies Graduate Program, Dan School of Music and Drama, Human Rights Office, H’art Centre, Isabel Bader Centre Integrated Learning Fund, the Department of Gender Studies.