Stage adaptation of Raymond Antrobus’ Can Bears Ski? to tour UK

A new stage adaptation of award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus’ Can Bears Ski? is to tour the UK.

The Pied Piper Theatre Company and Deafinitely will present the piece, adapted for the stage by Tina Williams, Artistic Director of the Pied Piper Theatre Company, who will co-direct the production with Paula Garfield, Artistic Director of Deafinitely Theatre.

On the cast are Ciaran O’Breen (BSL Teacher & David Bear), Emery Hunter (Little Bear), Jessica Warshaw (Audiologist), Nick Ash (Teacher Bear) and Zoë McWhinney (Speech & Language Therapist).

The production will have set design by Catherine Chapman, music by Julian Butler, movement direction by Angela Gasparetto and puppetry by Nick Ash.

Little Bear can’t hear Dad Bear calling, but feels the floor vibrate with heavy footsteps… Little Bear can’t catch the funny joke at school when friends are laughing but feels the crunch of snow on frozen pavements. Join Little Bear and Dad Bear as they learn how there are many ways to communicate love, and to find your place in the world.

The story draws on the writer’s own experience as a deaf child in a hearing world with a set inspired by Polly Dunbar’s illustrations. The story is brought to life on stage with puppetry, music, British Sign Language and spoken English in a world première production for hearing and deaf young people aged 3+ and their families.

The production opens at The Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham on 18 November, and visits 86 schools across the UK, with public performances in towns and cities including Brentford, Brockenhurst, Crawley, Haverhill, Andover, Shoreham-by-Sea, Luton and Hammersmith, with further venues to be announced, as part of a 14-week tour culminating on 24 February 2024. The tour includes 19 performances for deaf schools and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities units.

For more information, full tour dates and tickets, visit

Poet and author Raymond Antrobus said: “I’m delighted that Can Bears Ski? is being adapted for the stage by deaf and hard of hearing led artists. I know it’s something the younger me would have needed to see in the world, but the story is really for everyone.”

Artistic Director of the Pied Piper Theatre Company Tina Williams added: “Pied Piper is delighted to join with Deafinitely Theatre on a new challenge to bring fully accessible theatre to both hearing and deaf children 3+ in this ambitious tour of twelve jam packed weeks of schools, theatres, arts and community venues.”

Artistic Director of Deafinitely Theatre Paula Garfield commented: “We are very excited to collaborate with Pied Piper Theatre Company to bring Raymond Antrobus’ moving story about growing up as a deaf child in a hearing world to the stage. Productions for families and young people are an important part of the work we do at Deafinitely, as we work to increase awareness of deaf communication, culture and talent for future generations to come. As we know, nine in 10 deaf children are born to hearing families and this new production champions the power and expressiveness of British Sign Language, giving families and mixed school audiences rare access to sharing the same experience in two languages.”

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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