Interactive Broadcast

19:00-20:00, Friday 25th September 2020

Watch the Q&A below


Music: Errollyn Wallen

Words: Nicola Werenowska & Selina Mills


A short documentary screening about the making of The Paradis Files, followed by a live Q&A from members of the creative team. 


Maria Theresia Von Paradis (Austria, 1759-1824) was a celebrated composer, pianist and singer who gave concerts in Austria and across Europe. A contemporary of Mozart and Salieri, she was known as The Blind Enchantress.


Yet underlying her success story is the life of a woman who was used as a pawn by her family to secure a pension – a young disabled musician who was used as a source of ‘inspiration’ and was subjected to an extraordinary and daily variety of treatments to ‘cure’ her blindness.


Graeae and The Stables are bringing to life the untold story of this extraordinary woman. This short documentary follows the initial steps in the creation of Graeae’s first chamber opera to be originated and performed by Deaf and disabled artists, directed by Jenny Sealey, with music by award-winning composer Errollyn Wallen.


Documentary filmed and produced by Dan Saul and Rachel Davies of R&D.


To support Graeae, visit


Produced by Graeae


Commissioned by The Stables as part of its 50th anniversary programme for IF: Milton Keynes International Festival.


Supported by The Garfield Weston Foundation and The Cockayne Foundation.


You can watch the documentary here.


If you would like to help Tête à Tête and the artists creating this show, take a look at this.

Director: Jenny Sealey MBE

Music: Errollyn Wallen CBE

Musical Director & Conductor: Andrea Brown

Librettist: Nicola Werenowska

Co-Librettist and Original Idea: Selina Mills

Casting: Sarah Playfair

Dramaturg: Bill Bankes Jones.

Featured Singers in the Documentary:

Mimi Doulton

Omar Ebrahim

Bethan Langford

Natalie Raybould

Ben Thapa

Documentary Filmed and Produced by

Dan Saul and Rachel Davies of R&D


Stuart Wild

Murray Hipkin

BSL interpreters:

Caroline Richardson

Vikki Gee-Dare


Director: Jenny Sealey MBE

Jenny co-directed the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony alongside Bradley Hemmings (GDIF). She has been Artistic Director and CEO of Graeae since 1997 and has pioneered a new theatrical language – the creative integration of sign language and audio description within performance.


Music: Errollyn Wallen CBE

Errollyn is an internationally renowned composer, librettist and singer-songwriter. Her prolific output includes fifteen and a half operas to date, and her music has won numerous awards including the Ivor Novello Award for Classical and a British Composer Award. She was also included in the BBC 100 Women 2018 list.


Musical Director & Conductor: Andrea Brown

Andrea is Head of Choral Conducting at the The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. She has conducted numerous ensembles including the BBC Singers, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Voicelab and London Mozart Players.  She is currently Musical Director of the professional ensemble Tippett Voices, The Festival Chorus, The Esterhazy Singers and Associate Conductor of The Fourth Choir. She was MD and conductor on Graeae’s 1418 NOW commission, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU in 2018.


Librettist: Nicola Werenowska

Nicola is a graduate of Graeae’s Write to Play programme. Her latest play Silence opened at the Mercury Theatre Colchester in October 2018 and then toured nationally. With April de Angelis she has also co-adapted Little Dorrit into Amy Dorrit for Graeae’s BBC Radio 4 end-of-year drama.


Co-Librettist & Historian: Selina Mills

Selina is an award-winning writer and journalist. In 2009 she was awarded a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction. Her book, Life Unseen: The Story of Blindness, will be published by Routledge in 2021. It is the first accessible history of the subject written in over fifty years.


Casting: Sarah Playfair

Sarah has worked with English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne, Garsington Opera, Birmingham Opera Company and Tête à Tête in various roles.


Dramaturg: Bill Bankes Jones.

Bill is founder and Artistic Director of Tête à Tête, and Chair of Opera and Music Theatre Forum – the UK’s umbrella body for opera companies. He has directed more than forty world premieres of operas, as well as many revivals, plays and other events.




About the Companies


Graeae is a force for change in world-class theatre – breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions and boldly placing d/Deaf and disabled artists centre stage.  Championing accessibility and providing a platform for new generations of artists, Graeae leads the way in pioneering, trail-blazing theatre.

Recent productions and co-productions include: Reasons to be Cheerful, Cosmic Scallies, The House Of Bernarda Alba, The Solid Life Of Sugar Water, Blood Wedding, The Threepenny Opera, Belonging, Blasted and Bent. Spectacular outdoor productions include This Is Not For You, The Limbless Knight, Prometheus Awakes and The Iron Man.


The Stables is a registered charity with a vision to engage the widest range of people in all its diversity and presents over 400 concerts and 200 education events annually.


The concert programme features all musical genres and has included Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Emma Johnson and Nicola Benedetti, in addition to Jamie Cullum, Toumani Diabate, Gregory Porter, Amy Winehouse, The Shires, KT Tunstall, The Zombies, Eliza Carthy and Joan Armatrading.  The Learning & Participation programme includes work with schools, families and community groups, alongside the annual National Youth Music Camps. As one of the UK’s leading music organisations, it has now also become synonymous with producing large-scale outdoor events and festivals.


The Stables is a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) of Arts Council England.


IF: Milton Keynes International Festival creates unique and memorable experiences, and is designed to encourage people to see a different side to Milton Keynes. The first Festival took place in 2010, with the 10-day event taking place every two years. Given the impact of COVID-19 in 2020, the next is now planned for July 2021. Graeae have regularly presented work as part of the Festival, with Jenny Sealey announced as Artist-in-Residence for the next edition.


The Festival presents a world-class, multi-arts programme which includes new commissions, site-specific and participatory projects, large-scale and family events, concerts, theatre, dance, music and visual arts installations in unusual locations across Central Milton Keynes, including parks, public squares, and the online and digital realm.  Produced by The Stables, IF: Milton Keynes International Festival is developed with support of Arts Council England and Milton Keynes Council.