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a pioneering bi-lingual play for anybody from the age of 8

combining sign and spoken language

by French author Estelle Savasta

‘It’s not always children stories that happen to children’

going through.jpg

THE PLAY: According to UNICEF, 127 000 refugees and migrants entered Europe in 2018. 20 percent of them were children.

What are the experiences of these children? What kinds of trials do they have to endure on their crossings and what happens to them when they ‘arrive’ on the other side? Going Through asks these questions by telling the compelling story of a young girl, Nour, and her journey to a better life. From her birth Nour lives with Youmna. Youmna is beautiful, sweet, but also deaf. Nour speaks with words and Youmna speaks with signs. They always understand each other. Nour lives fearing the day she will have to leave Youmna. When the day comes Youmna has promised to let her go, to her real mother, to a country where girls can go to school and work. When the men come to drive her away, Youmna cuts off Nour’s hair. And so begins one girl’s journey. By bus, by lorry, into the sound of gun-shots, through adolescence and across borders. All she

can take with her is a little box and her memories of the deaf woman who raised her.

JUSTART  is in the process of producing a bi-lingual Danish – Danish Sign Language version of Going Through for anybody from the age of 8.


Our two-week residency period will focus on the use of sign language and how to harness its potential in a creative way. 

‘Sign language isn't just about deaf culture, it's a unique way of communicating that offers things that other ways of communicating don't’ Louise Stern – creative sign language consultant 

We will work on the artistic opportunities offered by sign language both in choreographic movement and text. 

As part of this we will develop the use of creative caption, i.e. captions that are artistically integral to the performance. There are a few different techniques that can be used to present the text of a play to the audience visually. We will work with the use of projections, the inclusion of images, and artistic innovations around the format of the text. 

Creative use of sign language and captioning are about creating an equal opportunity for the d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing community to experience arts and culture. To provide this in a creative way, access needs to be embedded within the vision and realisation of the production from the very beginning. 

Our aim is to create a fully accessible theatre experience and looking at it as an artistic opportunity, as something that enhances rather than dampens the audience’s (both hearing and non-hearing) experience of the performance. 


Artistic Team:  Central to JuSTart’s vision is the principle of integration and bringing people together across diversity. The making of the play Going Through brings together deaf and non-deaf communities, refugees and residents, academics and artists. It does so through modalities of text and silence, gesture and word, image and caption. JuSTart values building bridges between identities and therefore invites consultants, institutions and test audiences to open up the conversations that arise in the making of the work. 

Going Through is a collaboration between Teresa Ariosto (dramaturg and producer), Mia Theil Have (director) Helga Arnalds (visual artist), Estelle Savasta (writer), Nicola Visser (movement director), Jori Snell (physical theatre director), Outi Toura-Jensen and Amandine Mansilla (deaf culture consultants) as well as with institutions – Centre for Migration and Integration at Aarhus University (MIAU), Åbne Scene, Egmont Højskolen, Castberggård and Frontrunners. 

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