Paul Miller is a director of Surface Area Dance Theatre and the founder and director of Rory’s Studio, an award-winning arts organisation working across illustration, animation and live theatre. As a Deaf British Sign Language user, Paul’s work is designed to illuminate and educate on Deaf culture within mainstream spaces.
Based in Newcastle, UK, Paul’s wide-ranging career has led him to work extensively as an ambassador for Deaf Awareness. Notable projects include working with the 2012 Paralympics to create a live-action short film representing a range of disabled children across the UK, receiving ACE and National Lottery Community funding to create a Youtube channel producing inclusive children’s stories through lockdown, and working as a guest producer on Where Our Root Are Planted for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. The project featured renowned deaf choreographer Antoine Hunter and a collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire in Scotland’s BA performance programme, the UK’s first dedicated conservatoire training for Deaf performers.
Collaboration is a key factor in all of Paul’s projects. This includes illustration for children’s book authors, partnering with the Royal Association of Deaf People and London’s Camden People's Theatre to create accessible performance work, and travelling to Tokyo to work with Japan Deaf Theatre, supported by Arts Council England’s Artist International Development Fund.
Regardless of medium or location, the focus remains the same: working together to increase visibility, understanding and inclusion of Deaf culture in all areas of society, while delighting and exciting audiences along the way.
The Gingerbread Witch
Supported by Arts Council England, The Gingerbread Witch was created first as a performance piece in collaboration with artists Vilma Jackson and Joel Daniel. Now devised as a full live touring production, it has also been adapted into animation.
Hailing from the old mystical Scottish village of Oban, young twins Anders (deaf) and Aurora (hearing) share a special bond. Children have been inexplicably disappearing in the village for generations until one day the twins find themselves at the heart of this mystery. Will their bond help them defy the odds?
This enchanting tale features a deaf character at its core, enabling deaf children to see themselves represented in media from a young age. It was awarded Best Artistic Short Film by Deaffest in 2019, Best Animation Short Film by Festival Clin d'Oeil, and in 2020 Colombia’s International Deaf Arts Festival screened the theatre production virtually.
Alexander on the Train
To celebrate his great grandfather’s 90th birthday, Alexander heads on an incredible train journey from Newcastle to Berwick. What will he find on his magical journey through the Northumberland countryside?
Supported by Arts Council England, the National Lottery Community Fund and Surface Area Dance Theatre, Alexander on the Train features illustration alongside simultaneous voice narration and BSL interpretation. A heartwarming tale highlighting the beauty of everyday moments, this short film reminds viewers of the childlike wonder the world around us can evoke. Whether it be a loving family or a rugged coastal view, Alexander on the Train seamlessly integrates communication for both hearing and deaf communities, highlighting how everyday enchantment can be a universal experience.
I accept commissions for my artwork and can create and deliver:-
- Illustration of children's books or book covers.
- Illustrations and design logos, banners, leaflets and activity books
- Character designs
- Professional illustration that can be frames
- Short cartoon animation
- Creation of art work that would make a perfect gift for a friend or family member, with a professional finish. May also suit professional companies
For many years I have created and led a verirty of freelance workshops for schools, youth clubs and art events, Common topics include:
- Making stop motion animation
- How to create storyboards
- How to Illustrate children's books
- How to make shadow puppetry
- A variety of drawing techniques
I just wanted to say a big thank you for enabling the children I support to attend your workshop at the Baltic on Saturday morning. The feedback from the children and their families was fantastic and they all said they would love to do something like that again.
Thank u, we had a lovely time and little one enjoyed every minute. Good luck for the future!
“Thank you very much for the wonderful workshops, the children had a great time and the models they made looked fantastic! I’d love to work with you in the future”
Programme Coordinator - Steven Stories
Arts Council England provided ‘Audience Development Funding’, enabling Rory Studio to plan ten Gothrella dance and drama workshops. I led the drama workshops, and the dance workshops were led by professional dancer Rachel Jean Birch. The budget also included five animation workshops for deaf and hearing people. These events took place at Dance City, Newcastle upon Tyne, and the BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art, in Gateshead.
Gothrella Theatre Workshop at Camden People’s Theatre
On the 6th of July 2016 our first Gothrella drama workshop took place in London at the Camden People’s Theatre, with a group of deaf adults from the Royal Association for Deaf people.
Animation at the BALTIC
8th and 9th July 2016, our first Animation workshop which was held at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Working with deaf and hearing children and families. Everyone got involved and created some fantastic space themed characters, after being inspired from my animation film ‘Oka’.
Animation Workshops at Seven Stories
Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, invited me to run a two day animation workshop. This workshop taught children how to create animation using some fantastic traditional methods such as: thaumatrope; flip book; and stop motion animation using clay.
Animation at Heathlands School for Deaf Children
On the 7th of May 2016, I joined forces with Louis Neethling, a renowned international deaf film maker. Together we created a stop motion animation workshop at Heathlands School, St Albans - which proved very successful.
Theatre Workshops with Newcastle College
I have delivered a number of workshops at Newcastle College over the years, and also worked collaboratively on projects with Nicole Vivien Watson from Surface Area Dance Theatre. Together, we continue to deliver workshops in schools and collages.
Animation Workshops for Driving Inspiration
In 2012 I delivered animation workshops for the Paralympics’ project 'Driving Inspiration'. I worked with two schools and the children created a short film. This was then linked with other children’s films from across the UK and played as a collaboration piece at the Paralympics’ opening ceremony.