News: Wales Millennium Centre announces a special kind of collaboration

Wales Millennium Centre & KAITE O’REILLY’S THE BEAUTY PARADE fuses deaf and hearing artforms to tell an extraordinary WORLD WAR II storywmc

Wales Millennium Centre has announced a brand new and innovative, female-led theatre show made by Deaf and hearing artists. Inspired by true events, The Beauty Parade honours the unsung heroes of one of the most unique operations of the Second World War…

It’s the 1940s, deep in wartime. Men are fighting on the front line. Women don’t engage in armed combat; they keep the fires burning, the factories going, and the children fed at home. Or so we were told.  

The Geneva Convention forbade women from engaging in combatant duties, so the Special Operations Executive set about recruiting a top-secret army of civilians including young, French-speaking women from Wales and England. These women were given just a few weeks’ training before being set to work with the Resistance, preparing, in Churchill’s words, ‘to set Europe ablaze’.

Award-winning writer Kaite O’Reilly, composer Rebecca Applin and performer and visual language expert Sophie Stone have created this new production that follows a group of ordinary women plucked from obscurity and parachuted behind enemy lines, who became extraordinary saboteurs and silent killers, sworn to secrecy yet tasked with some of the most dangerous missions of the war.

The Beauty Parade incorporates live music, evocative songs, dialogue and visual language and works inclusively between D/deaf and hearing cultures to give a multi-sensory interpretation of this incredible true story. It will be performed at the Centre’s Weston Studio 5-14 March 2020. Tickets are on sale now.

Writer Kaite O’Reilly said: “It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be our interpretation of how these extraordinary ‘ordinary’ women achieved so much, working clandestinely and subversively with the Resistance in the months and years leading to the D-Day landings. It is also a great privilege to work between Deaf and hearing cultures on a collaboration interweaving visual, projected, spoken, sung and musical languages. The work is unusual – but then, so were the women who’ve inspired it.”

Announcing the show, the Centre’s Artistic Director Graeme Farrow said: “Wales Millennium Centre are very proud to co-produce, and very excited to share The Beauty Parade with audiences in March. This is a genuinely innovative production made by a female-led team of artists with a proven track record in telling extraordinary stories in extraordinary ways. Entertaining, informative, accessible and genre-defying, this promises to be a remarkable addition to our 2020 calendar.”

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