RAMPS On The Moon return to West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, from Wednesday, this time with Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good in the Courtyard Theatre.

After Nikolai Gogol’s comedy The Government Inspector and an award-winning version of The Who’s rock opera Tommy, Wertenbaker’s tale of love, survival and the power of theatre is the third Ramps' co-production with Nottingham Playhouse.

Ramps On The Moon is a consortium of seven theatre companies, including West Yorkshire Playhouse, dedicated to putting deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work. Consequently, Our Country's Good uses Audio Description, Captioning and British Sign Language in all performances.

Directed by Nottingham Playhouse associate director Fiona Buffini, the play is set in 1787 when ships with more than 700 convicts on board set sail on an eight-month voyage.

Wertenbaker focuses on the extraordinary true story of a group of convicts and a young officer who rehearse and perform a play. Amid opposition from the officers and a leading lady who may be hanged, the odds are stacked against them but nevertheless it becomes the first theatrical production to be staged on Australian soil.

York Press:

A scene from Ramps On The Moon's Our Country's Good

Among the cast will be Garry Robson, who uses a wheelchair after contracting polio as a child and appeared in both The Government Inspector and Tommy, as well as last year's wonderful Graeae show at the Playhouse, Reasons To Be Cheerful.

"Tommy took everything to another level for Ramps On The Moon in terms of bums on seats," he says. "And rather than being a box-ticking exercise, it made a lot of sense for the show to be performed by our cast, because of the story of 'the deaf, dumb and blind kid'. Pete Townshend [The Who guitarist who wrote the musical] was intrigued by the idea of the sign language having a rationale for being there.

"Now comes our first 'serious' show, a straight play with comedy still in it, but it's deeply moving too, beautifully written by Timberlake Wertenbaker, again with British Sign Language integrated into the show, with deaf people in the cast, just as there were deaf people on the original voyage to Australia."

The audio description in Ramps On The Moon's production is done by an Aborigine character. "Perhaps the role is slightly underwritten in the play, but now you get it from a different perspective," says Garry. "This is a play about justice, what justice is and how we mete out justice, and it's also about outsiders, a group of unwanted people, which is how it can feel sometimes as a disabled person."

Garry plays Harry Brewer, the oldest midshipman in the British Navy at the time, in his 50s. "He's an old-school sailor, who knows all the tricks of the trade and he's a big drinker too," he says. "He's responsible for making sure all the hangings are done right...but he ends up going bonkers."

Our Country’s Good, Courtyard Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, Wednesday to April 21. Box office: 0113 213 7700 or at wyp.org.uk.