Deputy Editor Elliot Douglas sat down with director Louis Catliff to talk about Tribes, going up in the Union Stage this Sunday and Monday night.

Veteran director Louis Catliff has been a near-constant part of the St Andrews theatre scene for the last four years, and this is set to be his last show in this town. Nina Raine’s Tribes is possibly his most ambitious project to date.

The story of Billy, a deaf young man, and his struggling relationship with his family and burgeoning romance, is one which he thinks will both move and educate the audience. Author Nina Raine is currently making headlines with her new play Consent at the National, but this gem from 2010 was given glowing reviews at the time of its premiere. Blending sign language and speech, Catliff tells me that the play was described as ‘one of the most accurate representations of the deaf experience’ by reviewers at the time. Catliff remains humble about his hearing cast members’ ability to portray this accurately, but by working with a sign language expert and taking the time to perfect this, he thinks they have achieved something as honest and respectful as possible.

Catliff tells the audience to watch out for the journey of the central deaf character in the play, as the characterisation is a lot more layered than it might initially seem. He reminds us that the deaf experience is one rarely portrayed in the media and this is a rare opportunity to see a story like this. Tech is also set to be typically innovative, with projection and animation to help the play along its multi-sensory way. The play is also deaf-accessible, with closed captions.

You can get your tickets for £6 for 29th and 30th April by e-mailing