News: Kent theatre project gives voice to deaf young people

Deaf-led theatre company D-Live! will explore the unique challenges faced by deaf young people in new project Big Dreams, commissioned by Theatre31, Icon Theatre’s youth programme. Since March 2020, the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic have been felt across the UK with many young people facing isolation, grief and disruption to their education. In response D-Live! are working in collaboration with Theatre31 on this exciting digital theatre piece with young artists from The Thomas Aveling School, giving deaf students a chance to share their experiences of the pandemic.

The young people aged 11-14 will work with D-Live!’s team of artists, spearheaded by Artistic Director Steven Vevers-Webb, who brings over twenty-five years of experience as an actor, director, writer and workshop facilitator. Together they will work through a series of workshops that will develop the young people’s skills in filmmaking, editing, 3D art and visual storytelling.

Big Dreams launches at The Thomas Aveling School this February, where the D-Live! team will meet with deaf and hearing-impaired students based at the school. The project will find its official home from March with weekend workshops at Sun Pier House in Chatham, a community space that is home to a wide portfolio of inclusive creative projects which primarily support deaf, hearing-impaired, blind and visually-impaired people to access the arts.

At the end of the project, the young people will work together using their newly developed skills to create their own piece of digital theatre. Their work will be fully supported by professional artists from D-Live!, but in true Theatre31 style, their final project – whether performance, film or digital art – will be entirely youth-led.

D-Live! Artistic Director Steven Vevers-Webb comments D-Live! is very proud to be working with Icon Theatre and Theatre31 on this brand-new digital project for deaf young people in Medway. This project is being led by local deaf young people from The Thomas Aveling school and we are so proud to support them in their creative journey. This is the first step on the road to Medway becoming a hub for British Sign Language and deaf people, so watch this space for more events coming later in 2022 and beyond.

Icon Theatre Founder and Artistic Director Nancy Hirst comments We’re thrilled to be working with D-Live! through our Theatre31 young people’s programme, which is built on the belief that access to arts and culture is a child’s right, not a privilege. We share in D-Live!’s vision that theatre should be accessible and inclusive, and we’re so excited to join them on their journey to create a unique genre of theatre that is inherently deaf and appreciated by all. Big Dreams is a fantastic opportunity for deaf young people in Medway to connect with and learn from professional artists, who will empower them with the skills to tell their stories in their own way.

Big Dreams is a D-Live! project co-created with The Thomas Aveling School and commissioned by Theatre31.

For more information visit https://icontheatre.org.uk

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