The Deaf community is in mourning following the death of actor Vitalis Katakinas, who passed away on Saturday, 6th July.
Katakinas died one week after suffering a serious injury in an incident outside a pub in North London after BSL Pride Day. He was just 34 years of age, and leaves his son, Gabrielis, and his fiancée, Lina Cankas.
Since his death, numerous tributes – both written and signed – have been posted online, from both those who knew him and those who had seen him perform.
The tributes have told of a man with many qualities – who was a loyal friend, took real joy in life, had a gift for making other people smile, and signed beautifully, both when acting and when performing BSL poetry. Many have talked of his sense of fun and mischievous sense of humour.
Katakinas was from Lithuania, and counted among his many interests basketball, motorbiking, attending Deaf events, and performing. By all accounts he was tireless in supporting other people across different areas of his life.
He will be remembered by many in the British Deaf community for his sparkling performance in Deafinitely Theatre’s hit production of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost one year ago, in the summer of 2012.
Katakinas first appeared for the company in the 2011 Deafinitely Creative showcase of short plays by new Deaf writers. The same year, he starred in The Boy and the Statue, the company’s first production aimed at young children and families.
In 2012, he joined the Deafinitely Creative scheme and wrote his own play, a visual comedy called Absence in Time about a couple who are separated when the man goes to London to work.
Before arriving in London, Katakinas spent time living and performing in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he inspired the local Deaf community, and as with everywhere else he lived, made lasting friends.
Our thoughts are with Vitalis’s family and friends. Rest in peace.
On stage photos from Love’s Labour’s Lost by Simon Annand.
By Charlie Swinbourne, Editor
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Phonak: innovative technology and products in hearing acoustics
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Check out these captioning fails!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Clarion: BSL/English interpreting and employment services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- Signature: Find out about the Signature conference here.
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- Sarah Gatford: BSL interpreting, training and consultancy
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Happy: Microsoft Office courses taught in BSL and SSE by a Deaf trainer – all abilities catered for
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children