Commuters at Richmond Station in London got more than they bargained for on Tuesday as members of staff from interpreting company CommunicationID and their friends performed a sign language ‘Rocky Horror flashmob’ dressed in revealing outfits.
A flashmob dance is a planned performance foisted on an unsuspecting crowd in a public place. This BSL flashmob was staged to help promote Deaf Awareness Week and happened before a signed performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at Richmond Theatre.
Lauren Harris, who is learning BSL (British Sign Language) to level two and is also involved in the Facebook ‘Spit the Dummy and Campaign for BSL Act’ group, was one of those strutting their scantily clad stuff at the station. She said:
“It was brilliant. Six of us signed ‘The Time Warp’ in BSL to show how beautiful and adaptable the language is. We made posters with the slogans ‘Don’t Dream It, Sign It!’, ‘Let’s Do The Sign Warp Again’ and ‘Read My Lips: BSL is Beautiful’. Then we went to Richmond Theatre to watch the show in a group with nearly 40 Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing friends. The show was interpreted fantastically by Paul Michaels of Theatre Sign.”
The Rocky Horror Show is a musical stage play based on the books of Richard O’Brien, who also used to also present the game show Crystal Maze on Channel 4 (showing my age here). The show was also made into a film that now has a world-wide cult following. Both the movie and stage performances attract fans who like to get involved in the act by dressing in the distinctive and raunchy costumes worn by the characters from the story.
Lauren added: “We had brilliant fun dressing up and learning the song in BSL. Hopefully we also encouraged some of the passers-by to think about British Sign Language in a different way, and maybe go and learn some themselves.”
“We also wanted to celebrate the fact that Richmond Theatre had agreed to provide a BSL interpreter for the performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show during Deaf Awareness Week. Paul Michaels of TheatreSign was fantastic! Most of the audience (including hearing theatre-goers) spent the whole show transfixed by his stunning signing – and pelvic thrusts!” Oo-er!
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