Arthur Hughes, Gabriella Leon Among Performers Taking Part in Disney, ITV-Supported Deaf, Disabled and Neurodivergent Talent Celebration ‘About Time!’ (EXCLUSIVE)

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Arthur Hughes, “Casualty” actor Gabriella Leon and “Coronation Street’s” Melissa Johns are among the names lined up for “About Time!” a celebration of deaf, disabled and neurodivergent talent set to take place in London on Friday (Oct. 28).

As well as Hughes, Leon and Johns, the actors taking part include Scottish Theater Award nominee Jack Hunter, who was nominated for his Edinburgh Fringe play “One of Two,” actor and comedian Jo Coffey (“Waterloo Road”), Nadia Nadarajah (“Vampire Academy”), Steph Lacey (“Bridgerton”), music artist Caroline Parker, Stephen Collins (“Dune”) and Tim Pritchett (“Black Mirror”).

Also part of the showcase are musical supervisor Ben Goddard and singer/songwriter Max Runham, whose music for the event will be translated into British Sign Language (BSL) by Raphaelle Julien (“Clinks”), while duo Chris Fonseca and Harry Jardine will perform their unique brand of BSL and rap.

Ruth Madeley (“Years and Years”) and Cherylee Houston (“Coronation Street”) will host the event.

Created by Bridge06, a creative and strategic consultancy to improve disability representation in entertainment, and production company Hot Coals Productions, which specializes in making work accessible to both Deaf and hearing audiences, “About Time!” was conceived with the intention of challenging the lack of opportunities and representation for disabled performers.

As well as giving the performers an opportunity to display their talents, the showcase will also act as a call to action to improve opportunities for deaf, disabled and neurodivergent communities. As a condition of their attendance, invitees will be asked to commit to at least one of five promises:

  1. Cast a deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent actor as a lead or co-lead performer in a new show
  2. Develop a new title around a deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent actor
  3. Cast a returning drama with a deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent actors in key roles/as a lead role
  4. Apply a one in five rule for talent meetings and castings to improve the opportunities for deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent talent
  5. Schedule meetings with each of the actors taking part in “About Time!”

“About Time!” is set to take place at Bafta headquarters in central London and is supported by ITV, ITV Studios and the Walt Disney Company U.K. & Ireland, while the audience will be made up of broadcasters, commissioners, casting directors, producers and agents.

“We are delighted to have assembled this group of talented, experienced, and authentic storytellers. They are a fantastic example of the strength of actors working in the industry who will be, and should be, household names,” said Sara Johnson of Bridge06 and Jo Sargeant and Clare-Louise English of Hot Coals Productions. “Our ten performers are a snapshot of the hundreds of talent available to the industry and we hope that ‘About Time’ will be the last event of its kind because it’s about time that we all do better for the representation and inclusion of disabled, deaf and/or neurodivergent talent within the industry.”

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