Chicago — “The Farmer’s Cheese,” an international production composed for children with cochlear implants, made its US debut in Chicago on Saturday, July 16, 2011. The production was sponsored by hearing implant manufacturer, MED-EL.

The 45-minute program was performed in conjunction with the international cochlear implant professional meeting, CI2011, the 13th Symposium on Cochlear Implants in Children.

"The Farmer’s Cheese" is about a cunning mouse, a cheese-loving farmer, and the farmyard animals who try to catch the mouse and the stolen cheese. In this musical adaptation, the animals are individually represented by different musical instruments. The first half of the performance is narrated, while the second becomes a highly animated pantomime including a “cheese ballet” and a bull fight.

The play is based on “The Farmer’s Cheese” children’s book by Geoff Plant, president of the Hearing Rehabilitation Foundation, who specializes in hearing therapy for deaf children. The book was adapted by internationally recognized Scottish composer Oliver Searle.

“Although cochlear implants were initially focused on helping the deaf to understand spoken language, today’s advanced technology has enabled so many of my patients to really enjoy music. It is exciting that this special musical production created for children with implants is having its American debut in Chicago,” said Nancy Young, MD, CI2011 director and program committee chair and head, Section Otology/Neurotology, Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

“MED-EL is thrilled to bring this ground-breaking work to the United States. Music provides such richness and enjoyment to people’s lives. We believe that there is no audience more deserving of this special production than children and adults with cochlear implants, and hope that their experience today inspires them to hear life to the best of their ability,” said Richard Collette, president and CEO, MED-EL Corporation, USA.