Billy Read & Ariel Fung, received an Unlimited international research and development commission in 2017. Over the summer months they have worked at mac with a team of creatives to explore a new dance show, merging sign language and street dance called, Somebody’s Watching Me. It is a show that aims to appeal to young audiences. Set in a dystopian future, where social justice has gone & tyranny prevails; everyone is under surveillance. Deaf people who use sign language are more at risk as everything they communicate can be ‘heard’ on camera. Two deaf citizens decide to lead a rebellion against authority and fight for their rights of freedom. The focus of the story is on two Deaf citizens who grew up with different experiences of being Deaf in a hearing world. They meet and fall in love, but have different views on being Deaf, and different opinions on controversial Implant technology that makes a Deaf person ‘hearing’…

Billy Read first performed with Hong Kong-based Ariel Fung Ching-Wai in 2012 as a result of winning a Deaf explorer travel grant for Deaf artists. Ariel Fung dances with Fun Forrest, a Deaf street dance company. Billy Read wanted to collaborate with Ariel because she brings an authentic cultural viewpoint. Living amid the tension between Hong Kong’s glittering commerce and China’s authoritarianism, she can naturally contribute to a fictional story about a dystopia. Ariel is a trained dancer studying Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary, Billy is self-taught. This research and development aimed to  enable their respective dance styles to evolve into a new form of choreography that challenges dance and includes International Sign Language and facial expression. They are both leaders in the deaf world and hope this show will bring young Deaf and hard of hearing audiences into theatres in the UK and overseas.

Artistically produced by mac, Birmingham & made in collaboration with talented & accomplished team that includes Benji Reid – Dance Dramaturge, Matty Gurney – Visual Vernacular, Nathan Marsh – Hip Hop Choreography,  Adam Rutherford  – Assistant Choreographer, Tina Barnes  – Story Writer, Chris Bartholomew Sound design & Composition Nao Masada Visualising sound, Chris Cuthbert – Digital Content.  

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