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Sherman Cymru's Speechless at the Edinburgh Festival

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Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain | 12:10 UK time, Friday, 6 August 2010

Sherman Cymru take their latest production Speechless to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a powerful portrayal on the secret world of twin sisters who refused to communicate with the adult world and talked only to each other in their own language.

Demi Oyediran (June), Natasha Gordon (Jennifer) and Emma Handy (Cathy) in Speechless © Robert Day

Demi Oyediran (June), Natasha Gordon (Jennifer) and Emma Handy (Cathy) in Speechless (© Robert Day)

Speechless is inspired by the best-selling book The Silent Twins by Marjorie Wallace, and is co-produced by Shared Experience and Sherman Cymru. It is written by Linda Brogan and Polly Teale, who also directs the play.

It tells the extraordinary story of identical twins June and Jennifer Gibbons, who were born in Barbados but grew up in Haverfordwest following their parents' relocation to Wales.

Demi Oyediran and Natasha Gordon © Robert Day

The twins refused to speak to adults and communicated in their own private language, their only relationship being their intense and turbulent bond with each other. The girls turned to crime and were sent to Broadmoor after being convicted of arson, and spent 11 years there.

Speechless is an astonishing play about the twins' secret world, their special but destructive alliance and their struggle to find a voice against all odds.

Artistic Director of Shared Experience Teale said: "When I first encountered the story of the twins I couldn't get it out of my mind. That two young women so full of hope and aspiration should end up in Broadmoor after turning to violent crime seemed a modern tragedy.

"It seemed fitting on a project about twins and the relationship between black and white that this should be reflected in the making of the piece."

Demi Oyediran and Natasha Gordon (© Robert Day)

Speechless runs at the The Traverse Theatre as part of the Edinburgh Festival until 29 August. The production will then be staged in Cardiff at the Bute Theatre, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, from 15 September until 2 October.

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