Dr Who actress, Sophie Stone is calling on all young deaf actors, dancers and musicians to take the very last opportunity to showcase their performance skills in the National Deaf Children’s Society’s competition Raising the Bar.
Entrants to the competition (8 to 18-year-olds) have less than a week left, until 6 March 2016, to create and submit a video of themselves performing a dance, drama or music routine. Twenty-four lucky winners will be selected by NDCS staff and leading deaf professionals from the arts industry, and invited to attend a two-day masterclass on 18-19 June 2016.
Raising the Bar was developed last year by NDCS to make dance and music more accessible for the 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK. This year they have added acting to the range of performing arts skills. It aims to increase the levels of deaf awareness through the arts, whilst also raising the expectations and standards of what deaf children, young people and professionals believe they can achieve.
Masterclass training sessions will be led by Mark Smith, acclaimed deaf choreographer and artistic director of the all-male dance company Deaf Men Dancing, deaf actress Paula Garfield the Director of Deafinitely Theatre, and Danny Lane, Artistic Director from ‘Music and the Deaf’, a unique charity working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy music.
The weekend will culminate in a live showcase of the newly found Raising the Bar stars, at Mac Birmingham, demonstrating exactly what deaf children and young people can achieve.
Sophie Stone, who was the first deaf student at one of the leading acting schools, RADA, said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be launching NDCS’s ‘Raising the Bar’ competition. When I was young I always loved acting and I am so glad that deaf children and young people will get the chance to build on their skills and self-confidence in drama, dance or music.
“It’s so important that deaf children and young people get the same opportunities and support to get into the performing arts. For me, going to RADA was a wonderful experience which has led me onto playing some fantastic roles on TV and in the theatre.
“Raising the Bar’ will also demonstrate to the arts industry that making dance, drama and music accessible for everyone is so valuable. I really want all budding deaf actors, musicians and dancers to give it a go, send in their videos and get involved!”
Bryony Parkes, Inclusive Activities Implementation Manager for NDCS said, “Deaf children can do anything other children can do, given the right support. Raising the Bar is all about participation and raising expectations to show that deaf children and young people absolutely can perform to the same high standards as their hearing peers.
“Participation in the arts gives deaf children and young people the chance to learn new skills and feel more confident. We will also be encouraging arts professionals to look at our website which has resources for them to use to include deaf children and young people in their music, dance and drama activities.”
Adam Butler won a place on last year’s competition for his drumming and went onto play in a children’s music group (Yorkshire Music Club) for people who are hard of hearing with the Halifax-based charity Music and the Deaf. He said “I was so excited when I found out I won a place on last year’s Raising the Bar completion. I learnt so much from the masterclass and now I want to become a music teacher when I’m older.”
For more information visit www.youngpeople.ndcsbuzz.org.uk