I cannot imagine my life without deafinitely theatre

William 19 - Deafinitely Youth Theatre Company member and past intern 

Our work empowers deaf culture, identity and pride locally, nationally and internationally.

1 in 7 of the UK’s population are deaf or hard of hearing, with over 156,000 people using BSL. Despite this large number, there are minimal specialist learning opportunities for deaf young people.

Most deaf schools and clubs are under threat of closure, and with the majority of deaf young people now in mainstream education, there is little scope to interact creatively and socially. Despite these barriers, there is a strong appetite for theatre among the deaf community, and Deafinitely Theatre consequently fills a vital gap.

  • Every year we work with over 100 disadvantaged deaf young people through our annual youth programme across London and regionally across the UK.
  • We offer at least 2 paid internships and 2 student work experience placements to deaf young people every year.
  • Over 3, 000 deaf people access our services online and in person at our productions every year.
  • Last year 51% of our main show audiences were new to our work and 94% rated our show as Excellent/Good.
  • Our main production Contractions won our first ever award in 2018, the Off West End Award (Offie) for Best Production.
  • We work with over 20 volunteers every year.
  • We consult with over 70 companies each year to teach deaf awareness and best practice.

William's Story 

William first participated in a Deafinitely Theatre workshop five years ago, aged 14, progressing from there to performing in Deafinitely Youth Theatre Company productions and assisting our Youth Co-ordinator and Artistic Director in regional education and outreach workshops. Having proved himself a talented and committed emerging theatre professional, William then interned with Deafinitely Theatre and was ultimately employed as a part-time Administrator in April 2016.

An aspiring actor, William went on to train on our adult training scheme The Hub and in the Actors Showcase he was spotted and subsequently cast in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre's production of IMOGEN making him the first deaf actor to perform there. William is now enjoying a successful career as an actor playing a lead role in the Ramps on the Moon production of TOMMY, a professional national tour. He made his directing debut on our youth project in 2018 in order to achieve his Arts Award.

William Grint in the Ramps On The Moon production 'Tommy' - National Tour

“I first joined Deafinitely Youth Theatre in 2012 because I wanted to learn more acting skills and also sign-language skills. I absolutely loved it so stayed on for a few years until I was old enough to progress into the adult training scheme, the HUB. ”

Rose 20, Hub member

"I found this workshop both fun and informative. It helped me to gain confidence and also understand more fully Deaf culture and how different forms of communication can be used both in the workplace and also in everyday situations”

Deaf Awareness Training participant – Front of House staff member, Park Theatre

Last year...

  • In 2019, 45% of our audiences were new to our work and 92% rated our shows as Excellent/Good.
  • In 2018 our production Contractions won our first ever
    award, the Off West End Award (Offie) for Best Production and
    our Artistic Director Paula Garfield won aTonic Award in March 2019, for her energy and unwavering commitment to opening theatre up and the artistic quality of the work she produces as Artistic Director.
  • Over 2018 & 2019 our main production and deaf mental health project 4.48 Psychosis played to 2, 554 audienc
    e members in person. 24, 638 people engaged through our online channels and platforms. The show was nominated 
    for both the Broadway World UK Award for Best Direction of a New Production of a Play and the Off West End Theatre Award for Design and gained three-star and four-star reviews in the Stage and Guardian - The Guardian ★★★★ “A productive insight into the problemsof deaf mental health patients, forcing us to confront the fact that their experiences are rarely considered.” the one
  • In 2018 we launched HUB our training programme for adults aged over 21 with partners RADA, City Lit & Royal Court benefitting267 participants since launching.
  • We delivered 71 learning participation workshops in 2019benefitting 583 deaf young people and adults
  • All of our youth participants took part in Arts Award (An A and AS Level equivalent qualification). We had twelve young people gain their Bronze Arts Award an increase of 50% on the year before (2018-19 saw eight awards).
  • Last year in 2019 we offered four deaf young people office-based placements, 7 production-based placements and mentored 12 volunteers.
  • We offered 116 Consultancy sessions nationally to external organisations and individuals, increasing our client numbers on last year by 49% (2018: 78, 2017: 70), offering advice on casting, accessible marketing and deaf awareness training, to organisations including the National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.