Welcome: Basic Deaf Awareness

Welcome: Basic Deaf Awareness

Two practitioners, one Deaf and one hearing, offer an introduction to Deaf culture, practical steps for providing Deaf people with a warm welcome at your theatre, and some basic British Sign Language along with strategies to facilitate communication between Deaf and hearing people. This is  practical session  will equip you to develop your theatre as a space that Deaf people want to use and be a part of.

Suitable for anybody who works with the public, programmes work, marketing teams, anyone responsible for accessible performances, audience development teams, producers, directors, volunteers.

Develop best practice on access for d/Deaf and disabled people in theatre audiences and workforce.  Our modular course will provide you with a solid foundation on which to base your planning and policy-making around disability equality in your organisation. 

"I really enjoyed this course and feel much more confident about communicating with Deaf people"

"It was BRILLIANT!  I genuinely don’t think we’ve had a staff training session that’s taken their imagination and been so well received. It was well worth doing." 

Deaf Awareness trainers


Welcome: Basic Deaf Awareness is a standalone module, you can attend without any prior knowledge or experience. 

Participants will gain an overview and understanding of the Deaf community in the UK and how this affects their experience of attending the theatre. We will discuss accessible performances, learn and practise basic BSL and work related signs, discover other communication strategies to use, try lip reading and, with this new learning, discuss theatre related dilemmas and how to solve them. A mixture of practical exercises and discussion, with plenty of time for questions and anecdotes from the trainers, this course is a fun way to build confidence when communicating with Deaf people.

  • Anybody who works with the public, programmes work, marketing teams, anyone responsible for accessible performances, audience development teams, producers, directors, volunteers


  • Learnt some basic BSL and other communication skills to enable you to feel confident when meeting Deaf people
  • A greater understanding of the Deaf community and some of the barriers it faces when attending the theatre 
  • Some practical ideas to implement in your theatre to improve Deaf attendees experience 

Jeni Draper is Artistic Director of fingersmiths, a visual physical theatre company performing plays in BSL and spoken/written English and also a freelance director. Jeni is a qualified sign language interpreter specialising in performing arts. She runs workshops and delivers consultancy for theatres nationally, interpreters and for young people.

Daryl Jackson is a sign language consultant and linguistic expert in translation. He has worked with many theatres, TV and film companies in this role, monitoring actors and presenters. He has taught Interpreting and Sign Theatre at Universities and regularly delivers workshops nationally. Daryl is also an actor and TV presenter.

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+44 (0)20 7557 6700

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"UK Theatre" is the operating name of UK Theatre Association, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, whose registered office is at 32 Rose Street, London, WC2E 9ET, Company No 323204.