North Texas Performing Arts makes theater accessible

The North Texas Performing Arts Deaf Theatre Production Camp and Deaf Theatre Company open stage doors to new performers

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North Texas Performing Arts, headquartered in the Willow Bend Center for the Arts, is making theater accessible for people in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

"We're trying to support a vision that enables every child to take the stage," NTPA CEO Darrell Rodenbaugh said. "We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have their voice heard on stage."

On Friday, the new NTPA Deaf Theatre will open its inaugural full-length production, Deaf Theatre Showcase: A Union of Hands and Voices.

"I've been watching and hearing people act for such a long time over the years growing up. Now, I'm finally involved in something like that," NTPA Deaf Theatre performer Alley Farley said. "It really gives me a sense of pride and a sense of accessibility."

Ally was helping with the NTPA Deaf Theatre Production Camp, which allows kids who are deaf or hard of hearing to experience acting and more.

"For deaf and hard of hearing students, oftentimes they feel separated or isolated like they're part of a different world and they're not part of the hearing world," camp director Daymond Sands said. Sands is also deaf. "This camp is really designed to help expose them to the idea that they're not alone and that they can do anything but hear."

This is the second year of the children's camp. The campers will also do a showcase during the NTPA Deaf Theatre's performance this weekend.

"This is an opportunity for deaf actors to take the stage for both the hearing and the deaf public to see a program for the deaf, by the deaf, but also available to the hearing public," Rodenbaugh said.

"We want the broader communities to understand that we can do anything," Sands said. "We're not lesser. We're equal."

The NTPA Deaf Theatre Production Camp is a collaboration between North Texas Performing Arts, Broadway Dallas, and UT Dallas Callier Center.

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