Deaf Theatre Club launched at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen as deaf community asks not to be marginalised

Deaf Theatre Club launched at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen as deaf community asks not to be marginalised

Deaf People said that they didn’t want to be marginalised when visiting theatres. They wanted to go to the theatre at weekends with family and friends, and for staff at the theatre to be able to communicate with them.

Deaf Theatre Club, which is being launched in seven venues round Scotland, goes beyond just providing signed performances, to making the whole experience of going to the theatre accessible and enjoyable.

Deaf Theatre Club launches in Aberdeen on Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22.   

Deaf Theatre Club will comprise of a signed evening performance of The Cone Gatherers for adults on Friday, September 21. 

His Majesty’s Theatre’s will offer special reduced price tickets of £5 for the show and a theatre tour to encourage deaf people to give theatre a go.

This new scheme (which has been funded by Creative Scotland) will also target young deaf people, with a free children’s drama workshop for seven-to-12 year olds at The Lemon Tree on Saturday, September 22. 

Solar Bear will also train theatre staff in basic British Sign Language and deaf awareness before the event. If deaf people are interested in learning more about Deaf Theatre Club, they should visit www.solarbear.org.uk, or if they want to book tickets for the theatre shows or the workshops contact Karen on solarbearaccess@me.com or text 07900 852595. Sign language interpreters are also available. 

Over 130 deaf audience members attended the Deaf Theatre Club pilot project in Glasgow, and their feedback has helped shape the Scotland-wide programme.  

- Deaf attenders were very clear that they wanted the Deaf Theatre Club performances to be on a weekend night, rather than marginalised into midweek slots.

- Everyone in the theatre should be able to communicate properly with the deaf attenders. Solar Bear will be running deaf awareness and British Sign Language for Box Office and Front of House staff at all the venues which are to take part in the Deaf Theatre Club scheme.

- Deaf Theatre Club will aim to break down some of the preconceptions of theatre for deaf people, and try and attract new deaf attenders. To encourage this, the launch events will use incentives such as reduced ticket prices and extra benefits such as theatre tours or meet the cast opportunities.

- All aspects of Solar Bear’s work are about access for all. The website and publicity material are in written English as well as British Sign Language (BSL). The company has also enabled feedback to be given using BSL, which is then translated into written English.  

- Solar Bear is working with training the signers used during the Sign Language theatre performances so that they will use a more expressive and engaging style, enhancing the experience.  

This scheme is aimed to be the first of a continuing programme of events specifically targeted at the deaf community.  

If you would like any further information, or to interview the co-ordinator of the project for Solar Bear, please contact me alison.mussett@btinternet.com, 07967 377712.

Posted on Wednesday 29 August

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