Solar Bear is a theatre company that does things differently. Inclusion and collaboration are at the heart of our mission. We work with deaf and hearing actors, theatre makers, artists and young people. We reach out to those often excluded from the arts. Working more inclusively and collaboratively makes us think in radically different ways. It shapes who we work with. It inspires us to play with new ways of storytelling. It influences the stories we tell, and where and how we tell them.
Jennifer is a theatre director, producer and educational outreach facilitator. She joined Solar Bear in 2009 as a drama artist and directed several of DYT’s productions. In 2013, she co-founded The DH (Deaf and Hearing)Ensemble, an ensemble of deaf and hearing artists making work with and for deaf and hearing audiences. Whilst in London she became Head of Performing Arts at Let Me Play where she designed, led and managed several cohorts of vulnerable young people through BTEC qualifications. She also achieved her MA from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. After returning to Scotland in 2017 she set up a social enterprise ‘What Happens Now?’ working in schools, online and outdoors, creating interactive performances for young audiences and term-time outdoor drama classes for children and their families.
Craig is an independent theatre maker, workshop facilitator, BSL consultant and actor working with British Sign Language and spoken English. He graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2018, part of the first cohort in the ground breaking BA Performance in BSL/English.
Since then, he has directed major works including Black Out, part of a touring triple bill produced by Solar Bear. Developed and produced work with the Jerwood Fellow fund with Imaginate and through the Deafinitely Theatre bursary, with a focus on the exploration of visual and BSL performance.This ongoing work examines dreams and nightmares in a way that is relatable and engaging for children.
Throughout this period he has continued to mentor and help develop young deaf talent, this includes leading and facilitating Deaf Youth Theatre at Solar Bear.
Although Angela started in the commercial sector she quickly moved to working in the third sector where she enjoyed a long career. She subsequently trained as an actor and then became a General Manager in 2001, joining Solar Bear in 2014.
Digital Development Manager
Felix helps develop and spread a range of digital stories near and far. This includes promoting Solar Bear productions, projects, films, photography and digital art produced by groups and individuals.
Felix has over 250 professional film and TV credits, has developed bespoke digital products working as the Creative Director at Bolster and currently works part time lecturing at Glasgow Clyde College.
Community Engagement Manager
Alice Muir is now based in Glasgow and grew up in England. She graduated with a BA(Hons) in Fine Art from the University of the West of England. Alice has experience of working with the public sector. She has participated in several international events in Europe, such as the EUDY Study Session.
Alice is an illustrator and has worked on various projects, such as the Imaginate and Bookbug App.
Alice is passionate about Deaf culture, language and community and is eager to be part of the team to help establish a better network of deaf and hearing artists and theatre makers across Scotland.
Solar Bear was set up in 2002 by Gerry Ramage and Deborah Andrews. The company’s founding principles were to create exciting, innovative theatre with a strong social commitment. From the outset, ground-breaking, multi-disciplinary theatre went hand-in-hand with an extensive programme of outreach, participation and engagement with marginalised communities.
A key milestone in the company’s history was 2008, when it established Deaf Youth Theatre, a year-round youth theatre for young deaf people in Glasgow and beyond. This led the company to focus increasingly on working with the deaf community in Scotland. Our track record in this area includes:
- Playing a crucial role to establish the BA Performance in BSL and English at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) – the first degree course in the UK for deaf actors
- Setting up Deaf Theatre Clubs and Deaf Awareness Training with major theatres across Scotland
- Producing and touring high-quality, ambitious and critically acclaimed work showcasing deaf and hearing professional performers, for example 2018’s touring production of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.
What next for Solar Bear? Our strategic aims for the next two years are to:
- Employ professional deaf artists in all parts of our artistic programme
- Make Creative Learning central to our work; develop new work shaped by young people’s ideas, stories and questions
- Grow our network of school and community partners
- Provide clear pathways for young deaf people into the arts, working in partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- Offer training and development opportunities to professional deaf artists
- Make all of our productions and projects accessible for deaf and hearing audiences and participants
- Train and support a pool of digital artists from the deaf community; commission and share an on-going programme of digital art, celebrating untold stories
- Work with partners to drive change in the wider cultural sector – through advocacy, advice and our own practice
If you want to know more about our work or to help us or get involved – please get in touch!