The Signs are Good for Louisa.

My brother, John, has recently been over from the UK for a few weeks.  He had never visited Australia before and it was the trip of a lifetime for him – he also happens to be profoundly deaf.  Naturally, I wanted to show him what I do for a living  and whilst he had visited this web site and seen the photo gallery he needed to come and experience Louisa’s Walk for himself.  But, while  Louisa’s Walk has some visual action, it is largely narrative and we knew that most of that would be lost without the capacity to hear.

A few years ago we remembered taking a deaf person on Louisa’s Walk and they brought along their own signer, it had seemed to work well.  Soon before John’s arrival I contacted Gordon Melsom at TasDeaf and he arranged to book two of their signers to come and interpret a special Louisa’s Walk for Hobart’s deaf community.  The special Show on April 16th was advertised in their newsletter Signpost.

Prior to the show, the two signers, Priscilla and Ali, came on a Louisa’s Walk so they could familiarise themselves with what may be expected of them.  They were both enthusiastic about signing something so theatrical and different from their normal commissions.  I also took John along, to one of TasDeaf’s meetings, one rainy, Tuesday morning and met around a dozen of Hobart’s deaf community.  It was eye-opening for me to be the different one; the only hearing person in the room!  Fortunately, being with John again had brought back my own ability to sign and I had been encouraging John to teach me a new sign every day.  I found I could communicate quite well and greatly enjoyed being able to improve my signing – everyone was so helpful!  John is familiar with British Sign Langauge (BSL) of course but it is not so different from AusLan.

The Saturday of the special Show arrived and, as we had only a few booked on from the deaf community, we decided to throw it open to the hearing community as well.  We ended up with around 26 in the audience that day – one of our bigger shows!  Priscilla and Ali had decided to each take one of our parts so Ali signed all Chris’s dialogue and Priscilla signed mine.  Once we had started, it didn’t feel much different from a normal Show, we immerse ourselves so deeply into our roles, we were only dimly aware of the signer beside us.

Thanks so much Ali and Priscilla, you did a wonderful job and it must have been tiring keeping up with the flow of dialogue.  My brother certainly enjoyed it and voted it up there with MONA (which he loved, I guess because it is so visual).  Anytime the deaf community want to arrange another special Louisa’s Walk we have certainly proved that it is accessible and enjoyable for you.  A good story is appreciated by all!

A Special Louisa's Walk for Hobart's Deaf Community.

We Ponder the Story We Have Just Heard.

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