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> > > Signdance Collective International visualise radio in their musical BAD ELVIS
photo of the cast of Bad Elvis in a row with a life-size model of Elvis

Signdance Collective International with the life-size Bad Elvis puppet

The sign-dance-theatre BAD ELVIS musical premieres on Friday 21st March at Salford University, MediaCity; a film of the stage show will be shown live at the BBC Festival of Characters on the big screen at MediaCity on Saturday 29th March.

This is sign-musical theatre at its very best. David Bower, UK Artistic Director said:

“we have moved so far beyond sign interpretation that this sign dance music theatre production creates a whole new theatrical language.”

The evening performance is followed by a panel discussion on the visualisation of radio drama. Bad Elvis, written by Katie Hims, was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in September 2013, and stars SDCI’s Artistic Director, David Bower in the lead role of Aiden, with Isolte Avila, Creative Director, as co-star and choreographer of the production. The surprise performance comes from Bad Elvis.

Bad Elvis takes place in a surreal world, a hotel lobby and function room. The audience will be part of the action as guests at a wedding which Aiden gatecrashes. David also played the brother of Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral and now he is causing mayhem at another one!

Moira Petty, from The Stage say’s

“Bad Elvis lives up to the expectations that come with a Katie Hims play. This quirky and uplifting drama about families and Proustian recollections was developed with Signdance Collective for deaf actor David Bower. He is thoroughly memorable as Aidan, who gate crashes the nuptials and converses with his disembodied mother, his performance lodging in your heart for all the right reasons.”

The Bad Elvis film will subsequently be broadcast on television later in the year and SDCI start a sell-out US tour including New York, North Carolina and Miami immediately following the premiere.

The panel of speakers include:

  • Sue Roberts, BBC Editor Audio Drama & The Verb (BBC Radio 3); producer of the radio play and director of the stage production.
  • Katie Hims, Playwright, Bad Elvis
  • David Bower, Artistic Director SDCI
  • Paul Bonham, Diversity Relationship Manager Arts Council England

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: 

‘One of the Arts Council’s main goals is to get more people to experience and be inspired by all the arts and culture have to offer. This project really embodies that goal and what’s wonderful about it is that it will break new ground by enabling deaf people to engage with the radio, a medium that is traditionally closed to them. It will be particularly exciting to see the audience not only become participants in the play, but also something much bigger and more significant as Signdance Collective create the UK’s first flashmob mass sign karaoke.’ 

This is a free and inclusive event designed to engage with media and arts professionals and Deaf & hearing audiences to promote visualisation and showcase the unique art-form of sign-dance-theatre. ‚ÄčTo attend the premiere and join the Bad Elvis experience email

The work is supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts programme.