Signing Shakespeare

Over the past two years, the ‘Signing Shakespeare’ project (born out of the collaboration between University of Birmingham and the RSC) has worked with D/deaf theatre practitioners and teachers of the D/deaf to tackle the problem of access to Shakespeare for young D/deaf students. There are at least 45,631 deaf children in the UK, only 41.1% of whom pass 5 GCSEs. Many D/deaf children struggle with Shakespeare as the methods of teaching are not easily accessible to them and do not focus on the areas which they find most challenging. 29% of deaf children use some form of sign language; however, there are very few sign language-based resources for studying Shakespeare. The project has undertaken a pilot study on Macbeth with three schools for the D/deaf, producing active lesson plans based on RSC rehearsal-room pedagogy, and making films of key scenes in British Sign Language.

Abigail Rokison-Woodall (project lead), is joined by Tracy Irish (RSC), Angie Wootten (UoB) and Charlotte Arrowsmith (actor) to discuss the projects aims and methods and showcase the films.

The Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts took place online from Thursday 27 May to Sunday 6 June 2021.

The Festival brings together life-changing writers, fabulous stars of stage and screen, pioneers of science and technology, and future world leaders, for a party of ideas and stories.

The University of Birmingham’s College of Arts and Law hosted a series of talks, showcasing some of our top academics and the breadth of arts and humanities subjects studied by our students.

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