Deafinitely Theatre Marks 15th Anniversary With New Site-Specific Production Of Mike Bartlett’s ‘Contractions’

Director: Paula Garfield; Designer: Paul Burgess; Sound Designer: Chris Bartholomew

Cast: Fifi Garfield (The Manager), Abigail Poulton (Emma)

ND2 (New Diorama Theatre),
1-29 November 2017
Press performance: 8 November 8pm

Artistic Director of Deafinitely TheatrePaula Garfield, today announces a new, site-specific production of Mike Bartlett’s play Contractions as the company marks its 15th anniversary. A co-production with New Diorama Theatre and staged on a disused trading floor at New Diorama’s ND2, it will be Deafinitely Theatre’s first site-specific show. Garfield directs Fifi Garfield and Abigail Poulton in the production which opens at New Diorama’s ND2 on 8 November, with previews from 1 November, and runs until 29 November.

Deafinitely Theatre is the UK’s only professional deaf-led theatre company, creating bilingual productions of classic and contemporary plays for deaf and hearing audiences that combine the visual storytelling of British Sign Language with the immediacy of spoken English.

‘It’s very important that you stay healthy.

That the environment you work in is safe.

That you feel comfortable, and secure.

That you feel balanced, safe, and in control.’

Are your employers concerned about your welfare? Do they have a duty of care? Emma thinks so, but when she begins a relationship with colleague Darren her Manager suggests she might be in breach of contract. A series of bizarre meetings follow, during which the consequences of Emma’s actions take on a disturbing quality… A dark comedy about faceless corporations, nameless management and the boundaries between work and play.

Deafinitely Theatre’s Contractions, is the first professional revival of the play in London since its debut at the Royal Court Theatre in 2008.

Mike Bartlett’s plays for the theatre include: Wild (Hampstead Theatre); Game (Almeida), King Charles III (Almeida Theatre/Wyndham’s Theatre/Music Box Theatre, New York), An Intervention (Paines Plough/Watford), Bull (Sheffield Theatres/Off Broadway/Young Vic), Medea(Headlong/Glasgow Citizens/Watford/Warwick), Chariots of Fire (Hampstead Theatre/Gielgud Theatre), 13 (National Theatre), Decade (co-writer Headlong), Earthquakes in London (Headlong, National Theatre), Love,Love,Love (Paines Plough / Plymouth Theatre Royal/Royal Court/Roundabout Theatre Company, New York), CockContractionsMy Child (Royal Court Theatre), Artefacts (Bush Theatre/ Nabokov).  Plays for the radio: King Charles IIICockHeartThe CoreFamily ManLove Contract (BBC Radio 4), The StepsNot Talking (BBC Radio 3). As Director: Medea (Headlong /Glasgow Citizens/ Watford/Warwick), Honest (Theatre Royal Northampton).  His television includes: King Charles III(Drama Republic/BBC), Doctor Foster (Drama Republic/BBC), The Town (Big Talk Productions).  At the 2015 Olivier Awards King Charles III won Best New Play and Bull won Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. Love,Love,Love won Best New Play in the 2011 Theatre Awards UK and Cock won an Olivier Award in 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre.

Fifi Garfield plays The Manager. Her previous work with Deafinitely Theatre includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe). Her first professional role was in London Bubble directed by Adrian Jackson, which toured the UK. Since then she has appeared in over twenty productions on stage and screen, including presenting on See Hear and performing in Switch, both for the BBC. In addition to her acting career, she works freelance within creative media, translating from English to BSL (British Sign Language), directing, filming and editing.

Abigail Poulton plays Emma. Her first professional production was with the Walking Theatre Company in the site-specific piece When Twilight Falls, The Magic Begins. Her other previous credits include Peter Pan (Alban Arena) and Bel-Ami (Charing Cross Theatre).

Paula Garfield directs. For Deafinitely Theatre she has directed Two ChairsMotherlandChildren of a Greater GodPlaying GodDouble Sentence and Gold Dust. She also devised and directed The Boy and the Statue for Deafinitely at the Tricycle Theatre and on a London schools’ tour.  Garfield has directed two productions at Shakespeare’s Globe – Love Labour’s Lost, for the Globe to Globe Festival as part of Deafinitely’s 10th anniversary, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Her other directing work includes Tanika’s Journey (Southwark Playhouse) Grounded (Park Theatre).

An actor, director, workshop leader and organiser, Garfield has worked on a variety of television, film and theatre projects over the past fifteen years. In 2002 she established Deafinitely Theatre with Steven Webb and Kate Furby after becoming frustrated at the barriers that deaf actors and directors face across the arts and media. She has produced and directed many plays and worked extensively in TV, including Channel Four’s Learn Sign LanguageFour Fingers and a Thumb, BBC’s Hands Up and Casualty, plus appearances in every series of the BBC’s deaf drama, Switch.

New Diorama Theatre is a pioneering venue in the heart of London dedicated to providing a home for theatre ensembles, both emerging and established, from across the UK. Since opening in 2010, New Diorama has welcomed well over 120,000 audience members and has developed productions that have toured both nationally and internationally. Having received two prestigious Peter Brook Awards for their programme, New Diorama were also the recipients of the 2013/14 Les Enfants Terribles Prize and Artistic and Executive Director David Byrne was awarded the OffWestEnd Award for Best Artistic Director in 2014.

Supported by a strong community programme New Diorama were Mayor of Camden’s Official Charity in 2012/13 and are proud of their work with Access, being the only non-government funded studio theatres to offer access performances throughout their whole season. In 2017 New Diorama also opened what is thought to be Central London’s biggest affordable rehearsal space, ND2, in partnership with British Land. New Diorama Theatre was also the recipient of the prestigious Peter Brook ‘Empty Space’ Award in 2016 as a “vital creative hub for established and emerging theatre companies” and was named Best Fringe Theatre at the 2017 Stage Awards.

This production is made by possible by the generous support of:

Arts Council England, Autograph Sound Recording, Diorama Arts Centre, Edwardian Hotels London, Foyle Foundation, The London Community Foundation and Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, The Noël Coward Foundation, White Light Ltd, The Worshipful Company of Grocers.  Marketing supported by JHI Marketing.







1-29 November 2017


ND2 (New Diorama Theatre)

1 Triton Square

Regent’s Place

Box office: 0207 383 9034



Tues – Sat 8pm

Saturday matinees 4pm



£14.50 (£12.50 conc)

All preview tickets: £12.50

About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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