30 young D/deaf artists gather in Glasgow for culmination of two-year exchange project

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Solar Bear are delighted to be hosting 15 young D/deaf Romanian artists as well as representatives from their partners, Ascociatia Window Romania and Teatrul National, Marin Sorescu this October in the final part of a 2-year ERASMUS project.

A photograph of a group of 30 young people standing on some steps with their arms in the air

The young Deaf and disabled artists involved in the project

For many years the D/deaf community have been excluded from practising, performing and accessing theatre that has been historically organised and structured for hearing audiences. However, these barriers have slowly started to be eroded. In 2016 the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in collaboration with Solar Bear launched the BA Performance in British Sign Language and English.

In Romania, similarly the art sector has started to take notice of young D/deaf talent. Many of the Romanian students were part of the NO LIMIT dance company who made it to the finals of Romania’s Got Talent, winning the public vote.

There have been two exchanges to date, with 15 D/deaf Scottish artists visiting Craiova in Romania and 15 D/deaf Romanian artists visiting Glasgow. Building on workshops and methodologies to help communicate across languages this final part of the project will see the development of a short theatre performance. The students will also develop and deliver 30 new signs for theatre practices in both British Sign Language and Romanian Sign Language.

Project Coordinator, Christine Wallace said:

“This project is about communication, breaking down barriers and changing lives. We have already seen this happen throughout the project and I think in Glasgow the young people are going to produce some really amazing work.”

The project aims to develop skills and practices drawing on the talents of the young artists and the experience of the workshop leaders, Gerry Ramage (Artists Director – Solar Bear) and Alina Mangra (Actor/Teacher – National Theatre “Marin Scorescu” Craiova).

This unique collaboration and relationship was further solidified when Petre Dobre a D/deaf Romanian student enrolled in the BA Performance course last year. There is still a lot to be achieved when addressing accessibility and inclusivity in the arts and it is likely to be the abilities and ideas of young people from projects like this, who will be the driving force for years to come.