Hello! Hello, Janeene Streather. Hello.
Lovely to see you. Now, you are the Boss of the Derby Deaf Mafia…?
Derby Deaf Drama.
Drama. Yes, wrong sign. Sorry. I meant nothing by it… I should point out here, for the benefit of the readers, that I know you well and am always giving you cheek. I shall put my journalist hat on now and behave myself.
First question, as is our new tradition, is the Random Question from out last interviewee. So, Janeene; being part of the Deaf or hearing world, why do you think people are so keen to separate the two?
That’s a difficult question to answer. I was born Deaf, and I’ve lived all my life in the ‘Deaf world’, so I don’t know anything about the ‘Hearing world’, or the difference between the two. But that’s down to communication issues, not a choice I’ve consciously made.
A very good answer. Thanks. So, no, tell us all about yourself! Are you from Derby?
No, I was born in Grantham to a Deaf mother and hearing father. I went to mainstream school until I was 11, then I travelled to Derby so I could board at the Royal School for the Deaf, although I went home to Grantham every weekend. I stayed at RSD until I was 16 and then took a gap year before starting a dance apprenticeship in London.
You’re a dancer!
I’ve danced since I was very small. I always loved dancing. Being Deaf didn’t hold me back really; in fact sometimes it was helpful.
I remember there was this complicated ballet move that involved a difficult turn. Being Deaf I was used to watching and copying, so I could see the detail in the turn, which the hearing students were missing because they were concentrating on listening to the teacher’s explanation instead.
It meant I always got the timing right, because I was focused on how the move looked rather than what had been said about it!
You dance, you act; you’re a born performer.
I do enjoy it. After I left the dance group, I became a professional actor. My first production was The Trojan Horse at the Solent Theatre in Southampton. Since then I’ve been part of a variety of productions, including working with Graeae and some touring shows. But now my acting heart belongs to 3D: Derby Deaf Drama.
How did you become involved with 3D: Derby Deaf Drama?
I moved back to Derby in 2005, and was asked if I would take over control of 3D. But I had no experience of anything like that; committees, being a chairperson. I didn’t know about lighting or staging a production or directing; I was only an actor!
So, you said ‘No’? Brilliant. End of interview. Shall we get a drink?
You, behave. They agreed to support me through it all, so I said yes, and, well, I’m still here now! And still loving it.
So, 3D is important to you, personally, as well as to the Deaf community?
Yes. Personally, it’s lovely for me to see people I’ve known for a long time still wanting to be involved with the company.
Everyone is welcome, old and new, and we always involve the members in everything we do. We create all our productions together, and members take turns at directing and other roles so that everyone can learn and feel included and valued. And we make brilliant shows, which get shared with the wider community.
It’s interesting, in terms of the first question you asked me, because although we are Deaf-led and use BSL our shows are aimed at everyone.
And a little chicken told me that 2012 is a special year for 3D?
Yes! It’s our ten year anniversary! 3D was originally set up in 2002 with support from the CVS (now Community Action) and Red Earth Theatre, and we’ve kept going all this time by self-funding and support from Arts Council England. And, of course, our members and audiences!
We are having a celebration on 23rd June, at Deda in Derby, and, yes, 3D will be performing a new show; ‘3D Who?’
‘3D Who?’ Sounds intriguing. What will that involve?
You’ll have to come and find out! The celebrations will also include our very own Deaf Got Talent (which you can still apply for using the links below, and the poster at the bottom of the page). Any talent at all, come along and show us what you’ve got!
Sounds great. I will most definitely be there. Ten years is quite an achievement. Have you got a favourite production from those ten years?
No, no. They’re all fantastic in different ways. I’ve directed some, acted in others, so it’s a different experience every time. But it’s always fun!
What do you hope will be the future for 3D?
I hope that it will keep going, and being as great as it is, producing brilliant shows. It’d be nice to see 3D act as an umbrella company, encouraging and promoting new groups. In fact, can I just say thank you, huge thank you, to everyone who is involved with keeping the company going, because they are all fantastic and we couldn’t do it without them.
It sounds like the next ten years will be even more interesting! So, as a final question to you, how would you sum yourself up in a single sentence, including the word ‘chicken’?
Ummm…. *does chicken dance*… Like that.
Brilliant. And slightly bonkers. But brilliant. And your Random Question for our next victim, sorry, interviewee?
My question would be… Do you know how to do the chicken dance?
Wonderful. Thank you so much, Janeene, for this interview and also for being lovely about the cheekiness. And we will see you at the 10th Anniversary on June 23rd!
You can find out all about Deaf Got Talent and 3D Derby Deaf Drama by clicking here (or click on poster below to enlarge) and click here to join their Facebook group!
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