Leeds theatre company's new play uses sign language to get message across to kids

Connor Bryson and Phoebe Stapleton in rehearsals for Yellow is the Colour of Sunshine.
Connor Bryson and Phoebe Stapleton in rehearsals for Yellow is the Colour of Sunshine.
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The signs will be all good for a Leeds theatre company when its latest production hits the stage for the first time tomorrow.

The Tutti Frutti company's new play, Yellow is the Colour of Sunshine, is being performed at the city centre's Carriageworks venue at 11am and 2pm.

Penned by award-winning playwright Brendan Murray, it is aimed at children aged three or above and tells the story of two friends, Hani and Yoshi, as they learn how to communicate what is in their hearts.

And, to make sure the production reaches out to as wide an audience as possible, it uses sign language as well as spoken word, movement and Japanese-inspired design to get its message across.

Tutti Frutti's artistic director, Wendy Harris, said: “New writing is one of the vital aspects of our work as a theatre company for young people – we commission and collaborate with leading children’s playwrights to create high-quality original new plays.

"For Yellow is the Colour of Sunshine, we wanted to create a piece for theatre’s youngest audiences and their families and carers that explores emotions and the importance of identifying and understanding feelings.

"As with all our work, we’re doing this in a very positive, fun and creative way to make a memorable shared experience.

"We’ve been on an exciting journey with our creative team which involves bringing Brendan’s superbly playful script to life with striking Japanese design and wonderful original music by Christella Litris.

"This includes working with a deaf performer in addition to a dancer and spoken word performer to really open up communication through a production that speaks in many languages to create a vibrant and magical show for children and their adults."

Created in consultation with Prof David Cottrell, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Leeds, the play features a cast of three – Connor Bryson, Phoebe Stapleton and Holly Irving.

After tomorrow's performances at the Carriageworks, it will head out on tour to places including York, Stalybridge, Hemel Hempstead and Slough.

It will return to Leeds for two shows at the Seven Arts venue in Chapel Allerton on Thursday, June 13.