Brief-Blue-Electric-Bloom is a piece of music-theatre which combines contemporary classical music, sign language, poetry and animation.  The piece incorporates a strikingly unusual contemporary score by Ailis Ni Riain for the rarely played Hungarian string instrument the Cimbalom and electric guitar/banjo.

The piece explores the theme of relationship and communication breakdown and misunderstanding between people either perceived, notational or ‘real’. The poetry is rich, highly rhythmical, contrapuntal in nature, at times jarring, haunting and heart-breaking. We present a delicate yet challenging world where signs begin and music completes every sentence, where we strive, through difference, to communicate our desires, dreams and deviants.

Written, composed and devised by Ailís Ní Ríain, Brief-Blue-Electric-Bloom was originally developed with Greenroom in Manchester as part of Ready? In 2010 Cornerhouse Manchester and Abandon Normal Devices festival commissioned a performance at The International Anthony Burgess Centre in Manchester, UK.

Brief-Blue-Electric-Bloom experiments with the idea of embedding interpretive signing within a work combining poetry, animation and contemporary music. Ailís’ aim was to enable a deaf audience and disable a hearing audience in the hope that we ‘receive’ the work equally.

Music & script by Ailís Ní Ríain

Interpretive Sign language by Pat Joliat and Alex McDonald

Tom McKinney (guitar) & Tim Williams (cimbalom)

Illustrations and animations by Laura Richardson


“Brief-Blue-Electric-Bloom is certainly based upon an interesting premise and it’s one sure to create debate about the future of accessible theatre and spoken-word entertainment in all its forms.” – Disability Arts Online