Deaf community at centre stage

SIGNING: Mary White and Alicia Barker sign the Auslan word for help. Mary and Alicia are directing plays in the BTC's TENx10 project. Picture: NONI HYETT
SIGNING: Mary White and Alicia Barker sign the Auslan word for help. Mary and Alicia are directing plays in the BTC's TENx10 project. Picture: NONI HYETT

An Auslan interpreter will feature as part of the Bendigo Theatre Company’s TENx10 Project.

In a first for the local theatre group, the interpreter will sign the entire program of ten 10-minute plays at the matinee performance next Saturday, March 25.

The idea came from one of the plays, Inn-Communicado, requiring two performers proficient in Auslan sign language.

Inn-Communicado director Mary White said it was important to give the entire community a chance to enjoy the plays.

“I really don't know if this has been done in Bendigo before but I know it hasn’t been done at BTC,” she said.

“Because we have a play with a deaf actor in it, we decided to make the (entire) show enjoyable to wider deaf community,” she said.

“We found a fabulous person in Claire Lewington who's deaf and has good vocal skills as well.

“For her friends in the deaf community to be able to come, the only time they would enjoy it would be her play, so we decided to enlist an interpreter.”

The interpreter is from Auslan Stage Left, a not-for-profit organisation that enables and provides quality Auslan interpreted theatre as well as training to interpreters and deaf consultants in the area of theatre interpreting.

Ms White said she believed everyone should be able to work together on community projects.

“I’m really in favour of this. Hiring interpreters can be expensive but you outweigh the expense when you consider you are joing the whole community together,” she said.

“We are lucky to have a good little play like this that is co-written by a deaf person and shows the intolerance and discrimination the hearing community can have toward the deaf community. 

“I was very pleased it was selected and am delighted to be directing it.

The 10x10 Project is in its second year and Ms White believes the writing, directing and performances will only get stronger.

“I have seen all of this year’s plays and they are very good. I’m more impressed with the selection this year,” she said.

“The acting and directing is stronger than last year. The level has taken several steps up and can only go on every year and better.”

TENX10 will be performed at The Arts Shed, 15-17 Allingham Street, Golden Square from March 23 to 26.

The Auslan Stage Left interpreter will be featured at the Satruday, March 25, performance at 2pm.

For more information visit www.bendigotheatrecompany.org or head to www.trybooking.com/OOON for tickets.