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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 06:25 GMT 07:25 UK
Movie star's sign language appeal
David Bower
David Bower wants more people to learn sign language
A deaf actor turned dancer has returned to his home town to campaign for more people to learn sign language.

David Bower, who played Hugh Grant's deaf brother in Four Weddings and a Funeral, went back to Wrexham to try and persuade people to learn to sign.

He said hearing people could benefit hugely from learning the skill.

"As a deaf person I have experienced isolation, and I understand why many deaf people do," said the actor, adding he refused to be isolated himself.

Since appearing in the hit 1994 film, he has helped form a performance company called Signdance Collective, which produces theatre shows for both deaf and hearing people.

Signdance Collective
The performers strut their stuff in Wrexham

The group has visited Wrexham as part of Learn to Sign Week, and on Friday was meeting pupils from the actor's old school, Borras Park, which runs a deaf unit.

The team have been persuading hearing people to take up sign language.

Mr Bower said: "It's going really well. We've had a lot of children here and generated a few audiences with the dance routines.

"We're a group of artists intending to perform theatre, but if what we do helps highlight the need for people to learn sign language, so much the better."

He added: "A hearing person might ask themselves: 'Why should I learn sign language, why should I bother?'

Attract attention

"But there is so much to be gained from it, and sign language has so many different uses.

"I'm hoping as many people as possible will learn, to try and get an understanding between the deaf community and the hearing community.

Richard Jones, director of the Deaf Association Wales, said: "Learn to Sign Week is going really well. It's to try and encourage everyone to learn.

"Having someone like David here helps attract attention and also shows that he's a deaf sign language user.

"People can see that he's achieved a lot, and it's a language just like any other."




SEE ALSO
2.7m for more deaf interpreters
06 Feb 06 |  South East Wales
Deaf community to be 'reunited'
08 Jun 04 |  South East Wales

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