Press Release – Songs My Mother Never Sung Me Is A Heartwarming Family Story

Saskatoon, SKSongs My Mother Never Sung Me is a beautiful musical about the love between a hearing son and his mother who is deaf.

Dave Clarke is a musician and set designer who didn’t set out to tell the story of his childhood through an opera – in fact he initially didn’t want to.

“Concrete Theatre has an annual event called Sprouts New Play Festival For Kids … that commissions and presents brand new 15 minute mini-plays from writers with diverse cultural backgrounds,” Clarke explained. “The company’s artistic directors know that my parents were born Deaf and encouraged me to write a 15 minute musical. I wasn’t keen – it’s very personal – but I did, and the result was interesting enough for me to keep expanding the show.”

He said growing up as the Child of a Deaf Adult (CODA), it gave him a different sense of the world from other children.

“Like a lot of kids who translate the world for their parents, sometimes the kid becomes the responsible parent,” Clarke said. “It was all completely normal for me as a little kid – it’s when the family interacts with the rest of the world that the uniqueness of the situation emerges.”

Since his mom was deaf, he was never told to keep the noise down, which helped grow his interest in sound and music. Clarke explained it also impacted his sense of humour.

“I was a bit of a practical joker with my mum.  When she was vacuuming I’d unplug the vacuum cleaner and see how long it would take her to notice,” he said. “For me the highlights of the show are the comic moments; the comedy is the tent pole that keeps the audience engaged with the kid’s growing up.”

The story is told through both sung English and ASL, which is an interesting way to tell the story. There is no interpretations for either language, with people being able to easily follow along, even if they only know ASL or only know English.

“Musical theatre has a direct line to the hearts and emotions of hearing audiences. Music and songs can change tone and mood on a dime; it’s much harder for a naturalistic or realistic show to do that,” Clarke said. “There is almost no spoken English in the show – it’s mostly sung and signed by the performers simultaneously. The style elevates the storytelling into another place that works on many levels at the same time: music, lyrics, signed lyrics, straight from the heart.”

At its heart, it is a relatable story for all families, as it shows the love between a parent and a child. Clarke said the play is something everyone can enjoy, whether they are hearing or deaf.

“Things that happen during parenting are common through all humanity,” Clarke said. “Seeing and recognizing those commonalities drives these stories.

“It is a family show for sure.  There’s a lot of comedy and it’s a love letter to my mum. Every mum has felt like a bad mother; everyone can relate to the feeling of responsibility and success and failure.”

Songs My Mother Never Sung Me, with music and lyrics by Dave Clarke, will have two public performance in the BackStage Stage on Feb. 10-11 and then student matinees on Feb. 13-15.

Get your tickets at




For more details, please contact:  

Jodi Schellenberg, Director of Marketing & Communications

306-384-2126 ext. 237

[email protected]


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