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Training course to help emerging deaf talent secure mainstream theatre work

Fifi Garfield and Abigail Poulton in Contractions at New Diorama, London. Photo: Becky Bailey Deafinitely Theatre's Contractions at New Diorama, London, in 2017. Photo: Becky Bailey
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Deafinitely Theatre has announced a new training course to equip emerging deaf artists for a career in mainstream theatre.

The year-long programme, called the Hub, will begin in September, and will include a variety of workshops in acting, writing and other aspects of the theatre industry, including stage management.

Additionally, the Hub will provide two-year one-to-one mentorship schemes as well as a series of networking events, with interpreter and caption support offered throughout.

Following the programme, Deafinitely Theatre will invite participants to apply for paid internships and acting roles with the company.

Artistic director Paula Garfield said: “For the past few years, it has been amazing to see more and more mainstream theatre companies hire deaf actors. While it’s an exciting time for deaf actors to work in high-profile companies – a vital opportunity for them to learn their craft from other trained actors and from mainstream directors and creative teams – we do need deaf actors and theatremakers to have accessible opportunities to train.”

Garfield said that no drama school in London was fully accessible to deaf BSL users, and there was only one specific course for deaf theatremakers in the country, at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

She added: “There is proof that there is currently high demand in the industry for deaf actors and theatremakers and it is essential they have the same access to training so they are ready to start out in their chosen theatre careers.

“The long-term aim for the Hub is to establish tailor-made, full-time drama courses accessible for both deaf and hearing.”

With funding from Arts Council England, the course is curated with help from partners including City Lit, RADA and London’s Royal Court Theatre.

Membership is £5 and participants will receive their first workshop free as well as a discount on subsequent classes.

A taster day for prospective members will take place at RADA on July 14, with further details on how to become a Hub member to be published on Deafinitely’s website.

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