New York Theater Company collaborates with Gallaudet theater class

November 03, 2017

Author: Andrew Greenman, ’10

People sign on four frames in one photo. One frame has a green background, one blue, and the other two white.

SIGN & SING, a theatre performance company dedicated to the integration of American Sign Language (ASL) and classical music, partnered with Art, Communication, and Theater professor Willy Conley to produce his work, The Universal Drum, with music and concurrent ASL adaptations. Students Lucia Cavalier, Gideon Firl, Jacinda Baldwin-Gomez, Carrie Suggs, Trentavius Harper, Chukwudi Kalu, Thandiwe Dunn, and Angela Reel all created ASL interpretations of Conley's work, under his guidance. The company will perform a workshop performance of Conley's piece on January 13, 2018, with the location of the theatre TBA.

"I felt like I contributed something to the community, and am inspired to do more work in the future," said Baldwin-Gomez. Firl agreed with her, saying that "collaboration between a spoken language and a signed language is a huge step to take in the signing community."

Willy Conley is a deaf American playwright and theater professor at Gallaudet University. This fall, he is teaching "Sign Language Translation for the Stage," and The Universal Drum is the class's midterm project.

The next step in the process is for SIGN & SING to work with composer Brad Balliett to maintain the ASL-centricity of the piece, while incorporating music, specifically percussion.

More information about this collaboration is available here:

Photo courtesy of Sign & Sing.