Cre8 Theatre and c21 Theatre Company are pleased to announce that the inaugural Deaf Arts Festival NI will launch in the MAC, Belfast on the 6 and 7 May to coincide with Deaf Awareness Week 2023.

The festival has been co-founded by both local companies as a way to connect with d/Deaf communities across Northern Ireland and beyond, creating opportunity, access, and inclusion to arts activity for integrated audiences, as well as place deaf artists in central roles on the main stage.

c21 Theatre Company ‘Expecting’ tour dates:

Thursday 11 May, 8pm Studio 1A, Bangor

Friday 12 May, 8pm – Island Arts Centre, Lisburn

Saturday 13 May, 8pm, Marketplace Theatre, Armagh

Friday 19 May 8pm – Newry Town Hall

Saturday 20 May, 8pm Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey

The festival kicks off in its first year with a theatre piece of brand-new writing from each company.

Cre8 Theatre presents a brand new modern musical adaption of the classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’ written by Sarah Lyle and Charis McRoberts, for children and families, featuring sign song, music, an interactive vibrational sound experience, and puppetry, played in a relaxed environment, making it accessible to all audiences.

c21 Theatre Company will offer ‘Expecting’, a play containing a series of interweaving monologues and duologues in both English and sign language by Belfast Playwright Charis McRoberts.

Both productions have been developed in collaboration with d/Deaf artist Paula Clarke and feature d/Deaf and hearing artists.


Shauna and Robbie are expecting… different things. Shauna expects motherhood won’t be easy. Robbie can’t wait to be a dad. Then she arrives.

Encountering financial difficulties alongside the arrival of baby Aisling and the barriers Shauna faces, Robbie spirals. Can Shauna and Robbie adjust their expectations and find a way back to one another? Break down barriers with c21 Theatre Company in an accessible new show as Shauna and Robbie plunge into parenthood. Will they sink or swim?

Presented by c21 Theatre Company .

Directed by Stephen Kelly.

Read more here – tickets available through the links therein