Visibility as Communication
A very personal essay series about communication, listening, performance and British Sign Language (BSL).
Sophie Stone considers her own life, career as an actor and identity as a Deaf person, through the role of communication, both spoken and in BSL. Hers is an unusual and vivid life – she was sometimes homeless as a child, became a young single mother, broke new ground as the first deaf acting student at RADA, enjoys a successful actor career, and maintains strong activist roots.
Each essay describes a formative stage in Sophie’s life and career, incorporating historical figures, the challenges and achievements of deaf and hard of hearing people since the 19th century and her own personal experience.
Essay 3: Visibility of Communication
Sophie talks candidly about the fear and isolation she felt as a deaf child, how seeing other deaf people, finding a community experiencing the world in similar ways, encouraged her to realise she was not alone. In challenging limiting beliefs and fighting for Deaf rights, Sophie describes finding the courage to carve out new pathways and opportunities in her life and career, creating opportunities for deaf voices to be integral to the creative process, and carving space for deafness to be made visible.
Listen Harder broadcast on BBC Radio 3 will be accompanied by an animated transcript and BSL translation on BBC Sounds website, increasing accessibility.
Sophie Stone is a leading actor who grew up in east London and has been Deaf since birth. She was the first deaf student at RADA. Since graduating, theatre includes: Othello (The Watermill Theatre); The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time (NT/Frantic Assembly Tour); The Living Newspaper (The Royal Court); The New Tomorrow (The Young Vic); The Beauty Parade (Wales Millennium Centre); As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe); Emilia (Shakespeare’s Globe/ West End); Jubilee (Lyric, Hammersmith/ Manchester Royal Exchange); The Greatest Wealth (The Old Vic); Herons (Lyric, Hammersmith); Mother Courage and Her Children (National Theatre); and In Water I’m Weightless (National Theatre of Wales). Television includes: The Chelsea Detective (2), Moving On, Two Doors Down (2), Shakespeare & Hathaway, Shetland, The Crown, Doctor Who, Mapp and Lucia, Moonstone, Marchlands, Midsomer Murders (2), Small World, Holby City, Casualty (2) and FM. Film includes: Name Me Lawand, Retreat (Sophie was awarded Best Actress Award, Clin d’Oeil Festival), My Christmas Angel, Confessions and Coming Home.
She is co-founder of the Deaf & Hearing Ensemble Theatre Company, associate Artist for The Watermill Theatre, Pentabus Theatre and works as a consultant for several TV, Film and Theatre companies.
Sophie had a lead role in Beethoven Can Hear You for BBC Radio 3 in 2020. Her essay for Radio 3 in 2020 for the Five Kinds of Beethoven series, was a critical success. It was accompanied by an animated transcript to increase accessibility.
Writer and reader Sophie Stone
Recording engineer Mat Clarke at Sonica Studios
Sound designer Eloise Whitmore
Producers Polly Thomas and Mina Anwar
A Naked Production for BBC Radio 3