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Graeae Theatre Company

About us

Graeae tours world-class, diverse, high impact theatre.

Accessibility is at our core; we progressively define, evolve and redefine the ways in which signing, audio description, sound, light and film can enhance the theatrical experience.

This section features the philosophy behind our work, our support for new writing, how the move to a new workspace has transformed the company, the history of Graeae, and our approach to access in rehearsal and on stage.

Download Graeae’s Annual Review 2013-14 below.
This document is available in alternative formats. Please e-mail info @

Click the below link to download the audio version of the annual review.
Annual Review 2013- 14 – Audio version

Download Graeae Annual Review 2013-14
Two singers

Our artistic vision

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Find out more about our artistic vision and our literary policy here.

Find out more about Graeae’s Artistic Vision

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Our home

Bradbury studios external shot, at night

The award-winning Bradbury Studios are home to Graeae. Find out what’s special and how the building has transformed the way we operate. This section also contains details on how to hire our building, technical and access equipment.

Discover more about Bradbury Studios, the home of Graeae

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man in a crown

Graeae was founded in 1980 by Nabil Shaban and Richard Tomlinson. Having met at college in Coventry, creating productions involving disabled people, their shared vision was to dispel images of defencelessness, together with prejudices and popular myths, around disabled people… through theatre, workshops and training.

By May 1980, a company of disabled performers was established to perform the first ever Graeae play Sideshow.

Writing in Disability, Theatre and Education in 1982, Richard Tomlinson said ‘The story (of the Graeae) appealed to both of us. We were happy to concoct morals on the subject of disabled people supporting each other.’

Since 1980, Graeae has achieved an international reputation as a pioneer of accessibility in world-class theatre, with the original impetus of its founders still at its very core.

Nabil Shaban remains a patron of the company.

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Artistic Director – Jenny Sealey MBE

Photo of Artistic Director Jenny Sealey

Jenny Sealey joined Graeae as Artistic Director in 1997. In 2009, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours and in 2012 Jenny co-directed the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony alongside Bradley Hemmings (GDIF). She also won the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award and was named on the Time Out London and Hospital Club h.Club100 list of the most influential and creative people in the creative industries.

Jenny is fuelled by her passion to find a new theatrical voice across the ‘aesthetics of access’ (sign language and audio description, diverse physicality and differing voices etc), from the very beginning of the artistic process.

Recent theatre credits for Graeae include: Reasons To Be Cheerful; Signs of a Diva; The Iron Man; Sequins and Snowballs; Against the Tide; The Garden and The Limbless Knight – A Tale of Rights Reignited.

For details on the rest of the Graeae team click here.

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The myth

Graphic image of the Graeae Sisters. Design by Copyart Printshop for the play

According to Greek legend, the three Graeae sisters shared an eye and a single tooth. When Perseus stole them, the sisters revealed how to kill the Medusa, but he broke his oath and threw away their life source. The Graeae ethos is grounded in working together and sharing resources.
We are often asked how Graeae is pronounced so we wanted to share the correct pronunciation: “grey-eye”.

The below animation, with illustration by Graeae patron Sir Peter Blake, narration by Graeae co-founder Nabil Shaban, words by Write to Play writer Sean Burn and animation by Dog & Rabbit, was originally created for the Graeae and Central Illustration Agency exhibition Reframing the Myth exhibition in February 2016.

The Graeae Sisters

The Graeae Myth from Graeae on Vimeo.

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Access at Graeae

Access is fundamental to Graeae’s work; we provide an inclusive working practice for artists and staff, and an accessible theatrical experience for our audiences.

Click here for details of our access policy, guidelines,  Sightlines film and services we offer.

Click here to find out more

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