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Deaf and hearing theatre working together on stage

Deaf and hearing theatre working together on stage

A short piece of bilingual theatre, working with deaf and hearing actors using both New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) and spoken English, is being created and developed in Hamilton.

Directed by University of Waikato’s Dr Laura Haughey, in collaboration with the Equal Voices Arts company, At the End of My Hands will be performed in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on May 1 and 2.

Deaf actors have been recruited through workshops over the past few months, and the company has come together bringing rich experiences from the deaf community in the Waikato region.

Photo courtesy of Sycamore Media

“The deaf actors are working collaboratively with two hearing performers, to create an integrated ensemble and a piece which is accessible for both deaf and hearing audiences,” says Dr Haughey.

As director and facilitator of the project, Dr Haughey brings eight years’ experience working in deaf-led theatre in the UK and is enjoying the opportunity to engage with the unique nature of deaf culture here in New Zealand.

“NZSL became an official language in 2006, and is used by more than 200,000 New Zealanders. This performance shares the history of NZSL, alongside experiences and stories from our deaf actors about deaf culture,” she says.

The project has been funded by the University’s Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences Contestable Research Fund and supported by Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand.

At the End of My Hands will take place on May 1 and 2 at 7.30pm in the Playhouse Theatre, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Parking is available via Gate 2B, Knighton Road, Hamilton. There will be an interpreted Q&A session after the performance on May 1. Entry is by donation.


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