Los Angeles' Deaf West Theatre recently launched a National Conservatory of Theatrical Training which will run through August 16 at its NoHo Arts District theatre. A second four-week actors training session will commence in the fall, followed by weekly classes throughout the year. Future plans call for regional classes to be held in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, DC.
The unique summer school program, the only one of its kind in the United States, emphasizes actor training as well as preparation for the marketplace. Classes include acting technique and scene study, sign language translation, mime, movement and dance, storytelling and script analysis.
"We are excited to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing actors the opportunity to interact and develop their craft," said Ed Waterstreet, artistic director of DWT. "There is nowhere else in the U.S. where they can achieve this level of training that can prepare them for the competitive job market in the performing arts."
The faculty includes, among others, Tony Award-winner Phyllis Frelich, "Sesame Street's" Linda Bove and Suanne Spoke, who played Blanche DuBois in DW's recent hit production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Guest speakers include Richard Masur, Michael Miller, Sharon Jensen and playwright Mark Medoff (Children of a Lesser God), who will present a staged reading of his latest play, The Road to Revolution.
DWT has just celebrated its 10th anniversary with the establishment of its own 75-seat theatre at 5112 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. For information call (818) 762-2998. -- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent