I am the Founder and Director of Rory Studio and as a Deaf British Sign Language user, I strive to illuminate Deaf Culture within mainstream forums. I am a resident of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and an artist who has been educated in the north east, graduating from Newcastle College in 2005, with a foundation degree in animation and illustration. I have worked collaboratively with Julia Donaldson’s ‘Gruffalo’ stories for her exhibition at The Seven Stories Children's Book Centre and illustrated British Sign Language fingerspelling images that were displayed alongside the English words on an information billboard. I also did a short screen presentation about ‘The Gruffalo’. Since then I have worked extensively as an ambassador for Deaf awareness.
In 2012, I was invited by the Paralympics to produce and direct Driving Inspiration, a live action short film that included representation from disabled children from across the UK.
From 2014 - 2016, I began to research and develop Gothrella, a theatre production made for D/deaf and hearing children and families, which involved working in collaboration, with a team of eight professional artists. I extended the dissemination of my research, to involve members of the Deaf community living in London, this was achieved by working in partnership with the Royal Association of Deaf People and Camden People's Theatre. In total, 19 Deaf people and 22 hearing people engaged in the activity which was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
In 2015 I was appointed a Director of Surface Area Dance Theatre CIC, and have recently completed a national tour of Auricular performed at CCA: Glasgow, Berwick Visual Arts and Turner Contemporary.
In May 2017 I travelled to Tokyo, Japan to collaborate with Japan Deaf Theatre and begin a creative dialogue with company members to explore thematic concepts found in The Gingerbread Witch, which was supported by Arts Council England’s, Artist International Development Fund.
A strand of Rory’s Studio activity involves international exchange and production, In September (2017) I was invited by BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art to work in partnership with Nicole Vivien Watson as guest producers on a new community production titled Where Our Root Are Planted, a participatory project led by the internationally renowned deaf choreographer Antoine Hunter. Students and faculty from the Royal Conservatoire in Scotland took part in the activity, Claire Lamont, Head of BA Performance in BSL & English commented, “It has been wonderful to connect with the work that Nicole Vivien Watson and Paul Miller are leading. Since the BA Performance programme was launched in 2015 as the first dedicated conservatoire training in the UK for deaf performers we have appreciated this relationship and the opportunity it gives us to share knowledge and practice. It is so important for our students to connect with deaf artists and to find out about their pathways into the industry and how they approach the work they are developing. We are incredibly grateful to Nicole and Paul and look forward to an ongoing relationship”.
In March 2019, I co-produced ‘Hand in Hand’, a community engagement project working with 20 D/deaf and hearing participants in collaboration with renowned dance artist Chisato Minamimura. This was supported by Arts Council England, Dance City and The Japan Foundation.
In May 2019, I was awarded ‘Best Artistic Short Film’ by Deaffest and ‘Best Animation Short Film’ by Festival Clin d’Oeil, for my animation titled ‘The Gingerbread Witch’, based on the book.
During October 2019, the story of The Gingerbread Witch was transformed to an original theatre production. With support from Arts Council England and in collaboration with Northern Stage, the production took place on 25th & 26th October.
So far in 2020, Rory Studio has been fortunate to receive funding from Surface Area Dance Theatre, Arts Council England, and The National Lottery Community Fund, to create a YouTube channel called ‘The Magical Storytelling Time’. This channel delivers a number of inclusive children’s stories through lockdown.
As of June, I was also able to launch two new books now selling on Amazon: Pogo Flute the Clown (the third book in The Monster Chronicles Series) and Gothrella, a new book style that includes illustration and photography. Alongside that, I have been commissioned to create the animated short film of ‘The Pumpkin King’ (the second book in The Monster Chronicles Series), by Vici Wreford-Sinnott of Little Cog in collaboration with project Disconsortia. Follow the link here to see my progress so far: https://www.disconsortia.co.uk/paul-miller.html
Lastly, I have also been invited to Colombia’s International Deaf Arts Festival, to re-show the theatre production of The Gingerbread Witch, on a virtual online showing from 10th to 18th October 2020.
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.