In the New York theatre world, deaf perspectives are severely under-represented. Shows like Deaf West’s Spring Awakening and the work by the New York Deaf Theatre are encouraging, but they are also anomalies. Theatre productions that fully integrate deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing people in the cast and creative teams are even more rare.
Our Voices Theater, the team behind Soot and Spit at the New Ohio Theatre, is a perfect example of what this kind of collaboration should look like, especially with a play about James Castle, a deaf artist. Director Kim Weild and Actress/Choreographer/ASL Consultant Alexandria Wailes have been working together since 2010, and you can see their camaraderie and strong working relationship in this interview about Soot and Spit.
Opening up the theatre community, however, means more than casting actors, employing directors, or producing plays written by deaf/hard-of-hearing people. Accessibility is still a major obstacle for deaf/hard-of-hearing audiences. The Soot and Spit production team has taken steps to make the show more accessible to a broader audience, like offering ASL-interpreted performances and an Autism-friendly performance. With tickets only $25, it is also much more financially accessible than most major New York plays, which can cost as much as hundreds of dollar a ticket. Ludus NYC is proud to spotlight shows like Soot and Spit and the work of Our Voices, and we want to recognize their efforts in creating great theatre for a broader audience.
Check out the interview with Kim Weild and Alexandria Wailes above, and click here for more information on Soot and Spit and the full performance schedule at the New Ohio Theatre.