By Katie-Rose Watson | Contributor
North Texas Performing Arts is proud to announce the inaugural production of its NTPA Deaf Theatre, a new and innovative troupe focused on making theatre accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing performers and audiences in DFW. NTPA launched the troupe in summer 2022 with a pilot program of theatre camps for youth, and now is excited to produce its first full length production, “Deaf Theatre Showcase: A Union of Hands and Voices” to perform June 30-July 2 at NTPA’s Willow Bend Center of the Arts.
By extending its “Accessible Theatre” initiative to the Deaf Theatre community, NTPA builds upon its vision that every child should have the opportunity to take the stage, promoting equal access to theatre and the performing arts to Deaf and hard of hearing youth and adults, while encouraging diversity, equity, education and social inclusiveness.
The inaugural production combines a cast of 33 deaf and hearing actors ages 8-adult on stage in a revue inspired by popular Broadway hits.
The showcase highlights the diverse culture of the Deaf, styles of Deaf theater and passion for this inclusive art form. Actors will share their life experiences following scenes using a variety of Deaf theater styles.
“Bringing live theatre to the Deaf community in North Texas has long been a dream of many members of our board,” says Lisa McLerory, Chairperson of the NTPA Deaf Theatre Board. “Every member of our board is part of the Deaf community, either by being Deaf themselves or by being a parent of a Deaf child. We are passionate about the inclusivity of the Deaf community in the arts, and are thrilled to take this first step in making the arts more accessible in DFW.”
“We are committed to providing the opportunity for those in Deaf community to take the stage,” says NTPA Chief Executive Office Darrell Rodenbaugh. “We believe NTPA’s support combined with the program leadership, independence and the unique perspective of this powerful NTPA Deaf Theatre Board of Directors will make this one of the leading Deaf Theatre programs in the country.”
NTPA Deaf Theatre is also offering a youth camp this summer tied into the Showcase, which will be directed by NTPA Deaf Theatre Program Director Damond Sands. The camp is a partnership among NTPA Deaf Theatre, Broadway Dallas, and the UTD Callier Center for Communications Disorders. Open to youth in grades 1-12 who are Deaf and their siblings, campers will participate in musical-themed activities centered around one of the core musical scenes featured in the showcase, “Annie!” Activities include stage tours, set design, assistive technology trials, and costume/lighting/stage sound overviews. The camp meets June 26-30 and includes free tickets for all campers to attend the “Deaf Theatre Showcase”. Limited spots are available in the camp, and scholarships are available.
“We are committed to providing the opportunity for those in Deaf community to take the stage.”NTPA Chief Executive Office Darrell Rodenbaugh
Performances of “Deaf Theatre Showcase: A Union of Hands and Voices” are June 30-July 2 at NTPA’s Willow Bend Center of the Arts, Starcatchers Theatre, 6121 W. Park Blvd. B216, Plano, TX 75093. Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 starting June 26. Original Script and Direction by Karen Snapp. Music Arrangements by Rachel and John Morrow. Orchestration created by Rachel and John Morrow. Assistant Direction by Skye Harp. ASL Coaching by Daymond Sands and Mack McGough. Vocal Coaching by Wes Davis.
Upcoming NTPA Deaf Theatre programs include a holiday show (title to be announced soon!), youth camps, and ASL interpreted performances of shows throughout the year.
Performances of “Deaf Theatre Showcase: A Union of Hands and Voices” are June 30-July 2 at NTPA’s Willow Bend Center of the Arts.
Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 starting June 26.
For more information, tickets, and camp signups, go to ntpa.org/deaf.
About North Texas Performing Arts
North Texas Performing Arts (NTPA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to developing the character of youth through quality performing arts education and family entertainment. NTPA evolved from Plano Children’s Theatre founded three decades ago and is now the largest youth theatre organization in the country. NTPA is headquartered at Willow Bend Center of the Arts in Plano and has additional performance and educational spaces in Fairview, Frisco, and Dallas. Each year NTPA provides opportunities to more than 11,000 students ages three to 18 through its “Ten Characters” leadership development program. NTPA’s professional artistic staff uses theatre, dance, music, voice, film and TV to ignite a lifelong passion for the performing arts and guide young people on a path to becoming better citizens in our community and our world.