Farnham’s very own Jo Sargeant and Clare-Louise English are hosting their last theatre production at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

They are the co-founders of Hot Coal Productions and both have disabilities; Sargeant has dyspraxia and English is deaf. 

Hot Coals is a multi-award winning production company that specialises in making work accessible to both deaf and hearing audiences, through creative captions and visual storytelling. 

Earshot is a dark comedy about Doyle, a man with hyperacusis; hypersensitivity to sound. He is slowly driven mad by the cacophony of sounds from his neighbours through the walls of his home.

“We have a Foley artist and they are onstage making the sounds so we can recreate the experience that Doyle is going through and it’s a really inventive new way of doing it,” Jo says about the show.

“We started making Earshot in 2019 with our good friend and colleague, director and actor Stephen Harper, who sadly passed away last November. We wanted to finish making it in tribute to him, bringing on board his good friend Gabriella Leon.”

Hot Coals is now moving away from theatre and onto the film and TV industry. Last year, the company made a short film called My Darling Christopher based on the true story of Clive Davis, a Farnham local. 

It has gone on to win eight awards around the world at different festivals and has received ten nominations for other accolades and a feature length film is in progress.

We Care, another of their short films, had won Best Director and Best Actress at two different festivals. 

Earlier this year, ScreenDaily named Jo and Clare as Stars of Tomorrow for 2023. They have a script with an ITV Studios company which is underway and Sargeant says they want to make changes within the industry.

“We’re moving our focus to film and TV and making real changes within the industry so representation is accurate and deaf and disabled characters get to tell their own stories.”

Earshot will be playing at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre tonight (Friday) and tomorrow. For tickets visit https://www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk/whats-on/earshot

Michelle Monaghan