Deaf News: 12 deaf young people win places in national arts competition

Posted on March 18, 2015

Twelve deaf children and young people will feature in a film which aims to increase participation in the arts, after winning a national competition.

‘Raising the Bar’ was developed by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) to drive expectations of what the 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK can achieve.

Defmotion’, the UK’s only touring deaf dance crew, were involved in selecting the winners and have invited them to a dance masterclass on 24-25 May.

Hosts include acclaimed deaf flutist Ruth Montgomery and Danny Lane from ‘Music and the Deaf’, a unique charity working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy music.

They will all meet at a mentoring weekend on 24-25 May in Birmingham where the newly found ‘Raising the Bar’ stars will work towards a live showcase which will be filmed and sent out to teachers across the country.

The inspiring recording will form part of a resource pack which will include top tips on teaching deaf children, information on how to make classes and venues deaf-friendly and guidance on addressing the communication needs of deaf children and young people.

NDCS hopes this will encourage everyone working within the arts to ensure that all deaf children and young people can be included in the same activities as their hearing peers.


Talented young people who will be attending the master-class include nine-year-old Matthew English from Orpington, who is moderately deaf.  Matthew show-cased his exceptional talent in playing the violin and is looking forward to picking up some great hints and tips from the well-known deaf musicians.  Matthew said, “When I play my violin I forget about my microtia atresia and I like being Matthew who plays violin not Matthew with the little ear. I like knowing I can be good at something and want to learn how to be really good at the violin and get much better. I like to make people happy when I play.”

Elizabeth 2

Also lucky enough to be selected was Elizabeth Sadler, 12-year-old, from Crewe, who is profoundly deaf. Former North West Youth orchestra member, Elizabeth enjoys playing the clarinet in the school choir and is excited to be taking part in a film that will give teachers of the arts a better understanding of how to communicate with deaf children.  “I go to a normal school and would like to show that I am no different from anyone else. I would like to show them that being deaf doesn’t mean you can’t play really good music.”

Joshua 4 high res

Street dance fan, Joshua Aihe, is nine years old, from Birmingham and is profoundly deaf.  Joshua oozed confidence in his audition video and is really keen to meet the experts, get their advice and improve on his already impressive moves.  “I love music, drama and dance I want to become involved in dance at a high level – especially street dance. I would love to meet some famous dancers and learn new moves and techniques”

Former Hollyoaks actress, and star of ABC’s ‘Switched at Birth’, Rachel Shenton launched the competition at the beginning of this year. She said: “The talent showcased by deaf children and young people has blown me away! I know the judges were faced with a tough decision on who would win. So, a big congratulations to all the entrants.

“My dad lost his hearing through illness so I’ve seen first-hand the isolating impact that deafness can have.  I also studied performing arts myself so I know how important it is that all children have an environment in which they can learn new skills, build confidence and make friends.”

“Deaf children can do anything other children can do. We just need to get the support right.”

Hayley Jarvis, Head of Inclusive Activities for NDCS said: “We had a fantastic response displaying a range of dance and music talents from hip hop to ballet, clarinet, piano and song.

“Deaf children and young people should have the same opportunity to take part in dance and music as their hearing friends. We hope that the new guidance for professionals will make sure deaf children get the same opportunity to pursue their dreams”.

To view the winning videos, click here.


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