Kerry Drewery’s Abstract: Billy Read’s Dance trilogy set in a dystopian future
Billy lives in a world of constant surveillance. Government computers track everyone’s movements, and record everyone’s conversations.
‘For your security,’ they say. ‘For your safety.’
Billy knows that’s not true, he knows civil liberties and freedoms are being erased under the guise of protection.
And he knows they can’t control everything. They might track his movements, but they can’t record his sign language, they can’t log conversations within his Deaf community.
But then the prime minister sees two Deaf people signing, and realises he has no idea what they are saying; he feels isolated and powerless around them. They could be plotting against the government, he thinks, or discussing voting against him.
He doesn’t stop to think they might be talking about what to have for tea.
Paranoid, and desperate to keep control, he bans sign language, yet unable to communicate any other way and still wanting to express themselves, the Deaf continue to sign.
‘How are we supposed to trust these people?’ he demands of society. ‘If we don’t know what they’re saying? They could be planning anything.’
With the fear of society behind him, the minister implements a new programme of surveillance – drones are programmed to track the Deaf via their implants and anyone seen signing is arrested.
Unable to hear the noise of the drones approaching, the Deaf community have three choices – forgo their ability to communicate, accept a life in prison, or run.
Leaving his hearing friends and family behind in the city, Billy runs, heading for the cover of the forest where the drones can’t see under the blanket of trees.
Walking into the forest he dreads what the future holds for him – a life of solitude and loneliness in the trees, or persecution and hatred in the city. But then he sees pairs of eyes looking out of the darkness to him. Lifting his fingers automatically to sign a welcome, he stops – supposing it’s a trick?
One person steps out and he sees the implant hanging by their ear. ‘Hello,’ they sign. ‘Come and join us. We are the revolution.’
Abstract by author Kerry Drewery – A young people’s author who specialises in the Sci-Fi sub-genre about false utopias/ dystopian societies.
Photos: Chris Fonseca, Ariel Fung, Billy Read
Royal Derby School for the Deaf
Press Release: Deaf Explorer presents Billy Read Communication Specialist College Doncaster (CSCD)
Students get moving with dance, drama and drum sessions
Students at Communication Specialist College Doncaster (CSCD) have had a week of special sessions with a team from Deaf Explorer.
The students, who are Deaf or have communication difficulties, including Autism, have worked with dancers from Deaf Explorer to investigate dance, drama and poetry as ways to express their feelings.
Rebecca Loosemore, assistant principal at CSCD said: “Our students have had an amazing time with the team from Deaf Explorer.
“Billy Read, Ariel Fung and Chris Fonseca, who wowed audiences on BBC One’s the Greatest Dancer, have worked with our students to help them to express themselves using dance and drama.”
Deaf Explorers work with groups across the country to break down barriers so more Deaf people are confident to take artistic leadership roles. Their purpose is to provide communication support, so Deaf people gain skills and competences in their artistic work to be independent and successful.
This Arts Council funded project, called Sign Criminal, sees Billy Read working with young deaf people on participatory dance.
QUOTE FROM BILLY.
Billy shares his artform, that blends visual communication with dance, and in Sign Criminal he describes visually the experiences of young deaf people really well. Young deaf people have expressed in feedback that they have empathised with Billy’s story and want to use dance to tell their own story about the frustrations of communication breakdown and the privilege of having a secret language.
“Our students have had a really amazing time with the group and have developed so many new skills over the week. It has been fantastic to see their confidence grow and they have really challenged themselves,” added Rebecca.
For further information about CSCD and the specialist education it offers to people who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have communication difficulties please visit www.deaf-trust.co.uk/college
Feedback: Students and Staff from Communication Specialist College Doncaster
Practicing and then performing some amazing dances! We loved working with Billy Read. Thank you for teaching us!
What the workshops offer
Q and A Frontline Dance Festival
Thank you FrontLine Arts Festival for a Wonderfull reception for Billy Read premier of Dance. Ariel Fung a star. Amazing participation piece. Privilege to have talent Alex Zangi
Thank you to Rinkoo Barpaga for his film-making with Billy Read.