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Theaters for the Deaf:

Also see: Deaf Theater: Theatrical Roles and the Deaf
Also see: Deaf Theater in the United States


Theater and the Deaf
By Ashley Wirth
December 1, 2008

I have always love the theater, and have been acting in plays sense middle school. I decided to look into theaters and the deaf because I've been wondering how the deaf could enjoy a play when everything is spoken. About five years ago I went to the Vagina Monologues and there was an interpreter so I know there can be interpreters who translate what is going on. However, I imagine that it would be hard to get the same over all experience when your not watching the actors, or speaker, your watching the interpreter.

I found that there are many theaters for the deaf, which include:

Chicago Theater for the Deaf
Dayton Community Theater of the Deaf
Lights On Deaf Theater (Rochester, NY)
Minnesota Theater of the Deaf
Theater of the Deaf North Carolina
Theater of Gesture Quiet Zone
Theater Readers
Theater Group (Springfield, Massachusetts)

These theaters attempt to develop culture to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

One such theater is the Deaf West theater located in North Hollywood California. Deaf West Theater was established in March of 1991 as the first professional resident Sign Language Theater west of the Mississippi, and their productions have included award winning artists and the theater has earned over 60 awards (WEST.) Deaf theaters also challenge stereotypes on language, communication, and disability, they promote diversity and inclusion within our society as a whole (NTD.) The National Theater of the Deaf is also a favorite of mine because it provides workshops that help people with their creativity with sign language and drama. It also includes The Little Theater of the Deaf, or LTD. LTD is the children's wing of the National Theater of the Deaf. It was formed in 1968 to reach out to young audiences and their families, LTD performs original works, classic stories, fables and poems. Each year, LTD gives live performances to thousands of children and adults in schools and theaters across the United States (NTD.) I love the LTD because it reaches out to children and enriches their lives with art and entertainment.

Another such organization promoting the deaf arts is DEAFmedia. DEAFmedia was established in 1974, and is a nonprofit corporation. DEAFmedia advocates the deaf arts and to developing cultural, educational, and professional opportunities for the Deaf community (DEAF.) I personally really liked this organization because they are trying to promote a understanding and a feeling of inclusion for the community as a whole.
I think that these theaters are a wonderful thing. They help develop a artistic culture for the deaf and hard of hearing community, the theaters provide jobs for deaf and hard of hearing actors, and they create a creative outlet for the deaf and hard of hearing to express themselves. I think that deaf actors likely to be great actors, because deaf people are usually more expressive then hearing people and sign language relies a lot on your expressions.

Work Cited

Copyright 2004 Deaf West Theater (West)
Copyright 2007, D.E.A.F. Media, Inc (DEAF)
Copyright 2007 National Theater of the Deaf

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