Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 10:54 UK

Signed up for a stage debut


Gone is written, produced and acted by children with impaired hearing

Scotland's only dedicated deaf youth theatre group is due to make its first public performance at Glasgow University.

The production - Gone - is written, produced and acted by children who all have impaired hearing.

As BBC Scotland's Hayley Jarvis has been finding out, the play was inspired by William Golding's Lord of the Flies, but has been set within the context of a reality TV series.

One of its stars - 13-year-old Neil - explained how he became involved.

"I go to this deaf club, it's called Solar Bear, and they said there was going to be a play a bit like big brother called Gone and they explained the play outline and asked who wanted to be in it and I said 'me'," he said.

15-year-old Danielle is also in the play. She said: "My friend from school told me to join in. It's interesting, we do a lot of things, it's a lot of fun, there's nice people here."

'High noon'

The Deaf Youth Theatre was set up by theatre company Solar Bear in January last year after it realised how deaf children can be excluded from the performing arts.

The actors, aged between 11 and 23, communicate in a variety of ways.

Deborah Andrews, artistic director at Solar Bear, said drama brought the group together.

She said: "When we started and all the young people arrived, some were British sign language users, some were oralist - and then we had a group of about two in the middle who were total communicators and it was a bit like high noon.

"There was that sense of two groups looking at each other from either side of the room.

Katrina Fisher
The play is written, produced and acted by children with impaired hearing.

"I think one of the things about drama which is so powerful really is that, through games and drama techniques, those barriers broke down."

The play aims to tell the story through a combination of sound and movement - so both hearing and deaf audiences can follow the plot.

Deaf actress Katrina Fisher, a workshop leader at the Deaf Youth Theatre, said the production would appeal to a wide audience.

She said: "I can't wait to see what the responses are but, to be honest, I think it's going to be great.

"Because we have a huge range of communication within the group and it's not like 'oh that's a shame, the way they're communicating', it's exciting and I can't wait to see what the response is going to be."

Both the Friday and Saturday performances of the play at Glasgow University's Gilmore G12 Theatre have already sold out.

However, Solar Bear hopes to secure funding for further productions and workshops and inspire deaf children to consider acting as a full-time job.

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