Acclaimed actress Genevieve Barr is calling on deaf young people who share her passion for performing to showcase their talents in a competition run by the National Deaf Children’s Society.
The charity’s Raising the Bar competition was created to demonstrate what deaf youngsters can achieve, with the ultimate goal of making the performing arts more accessible for the 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK.
Barr, known for her starring role in BBC drama The Silence, said: “I’ve always loved acting, but when I was younger I worried my deafness meant I wouldn’t be able to succeed in it. Teachers, family and friends encouraged me to keep working towards my dream – but sadly not everyone gets this support.
“Every deaf child should have the same opportunities as any other child, so I’m thrilled to support Raising the Bar and help shine a spotlight on talented deaf young people.”
Budding deaf artistes aged 8-18 have until 12 February to submit videos of their dance, drama, music or signed song routines. 32 lucky winners will then be chosen to attend a two-day masterclass culminating in a live showcase at the Ruddock Arts Centre in April.
The masterclass coaching sessions will be led by industry experts from Deafinitely Theatre, Music and the Deaf, Deaf Men Dancing and Deaffest.
Bryony Parkes from the National Deaf Children’s Society, who runs the competition, commented: “With the right support, deaf children and young people can do anything their hearing friends can.
“Raising the Bar is all about making the performing arts more inclusive and having high expectations of deaf children, not just so they can participate but so they can thrive.”
Molly Thomas (above) won a place on last year’s masterclass and went on to receive a Junior Performer of the Year prize at the Devon Performance Awards. She added: “When I got a place on Raising the Bar I was like ‘Wow!’ I felt so proud. The masterclass was great; my skills really improved, especially my characterisation. Now I am going to study GCSE drama and feel much more confident.”
To find out more about Raising the Bar, watch Genevieve’s launch video and submit competition entries, go to ndcs.org.uk/raisingthebar.
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