a circle of people sitting at a convening
Theatre in the Age of Climate Change convening participants watch a presentation. Photo by Carolina Gonzalez.

Are you a Deaf theatre artist or a hearing ally who wants to honor the traditions of Deaf theatre and legacy of Deaf theatre artists in America, but also break from it? Are you interested in exploring the many facets of what defines Deaf theatre today? Do you want to take bold steps toward defining ourselves independent from mainstream, hearing theatre? You might be interested in attending The Deaf Theatre Action Planning Session!

In January 2016, the NEA convened a single-afternoon discussion to examine “barriers, needs, and opportunities for American Deaf theater artists.” Action steps that emerged included: community accountability, more face-to-face time, graduate program support, accountability, and maintaining the momentum. All of these steps are possible to take when you part of the larger conversation, when you have access to those conversations, when you are considered, when you are included. What if Deaf theatre artists came together with the will to stop waiting for others to mobilize us or accept us, and started creating the conditions for us to self-produce, promote, create, and advance? We believe this convening can be the catalyst to begin creating conditions for change on a unified national scale.

The Deaf Theatre Action Planning Session is a convening that will take place 15-17 March 2019 at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. The convening will be produced by Tyrone Giordano, DJ Kurs, Ethan Sinnott, and Rachel Grossman in partnership with HowlRound. It will be a gathering of thirty Deaf theatremakers, producers, and administrators from across the United States, intended to develop a future-focused, action-oriented plan for creating a national network and training-to-production "pipelines" that foster the long-term education and advancement of all Deaf theatre artists.

We represent a cross-section of disciplines and artists, companies and institutions of different ages and varying connections to the Deaf community. We are also a group of people who feel compelled to change the circumstances, and we believe this convening can be the catalyst to begin creating conditions for change on a unified national scale.

The purpose of this convening is to take the first step of creating an executable plan of action. This might look like:

  • Creating a “destination postcard”—what does a rich, diverse Deaf theatre ecosystem look like? Creating a strategic-action plan—how might this collective take actual steps toward this end in new, different, and manageable/achievable ways?
  • Laying foundation for an inclusive network to form—how might we continue to work more widely and collaboratively toward attaining of our goals? In other terms it's about:
  • The long term formation of a pipeline for Deaf playwrights (training to production)
  • Developing a "Deaf Theatre Commons"—building a uniquely DTC but riffing off the Latinx Theatre Commons.

Attendees at this convening must commit to action steps which will include follow-up meetings, regionally, and more nationally, including colleagues from across the country.

Are you interested in attending? If so, please fill out this application by 1 September 2018.

Are you interested, but want to know more? Please feel free to email JD Stokely at stokely@Howlround.com.

This event is one of four convenings selected as part of the HowlRound Challenge to advance the role of the arts as a catalyst for social change. The HowlRound Challenge and this convening are made possible thanks to the support of the Barr Foundation.