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Edinburgh Deaf Festival Kicks Off This Week

The whole event, which runs from 12-19 August, is designed to appeal to deaf and hearing audiences alike. 

Edinburgh Deaf Festival Kicks Off This Week

The first ever Edinburgh Deaf Festival kicks off this week with a week-long programme featuring everything from comedy, drama and film to children's shows, magic and a rave.

Nothing quite like it has been staged before in the UK and Edinburgh-based charity Deaf Action, which is organising the festival, hopes it will bring deaf talent and culture into the mainstream.

The whole event, which runs from 12-19 August, is designed to appeal to deaf and hearing audiences alike.

Highlights will include the Deaf Rave, being held in an underground car park in the St James' Quarter - on 19 Augustwhich is being eagerly anticipated by DJs, dancers and audiences alike.

DJ Chinaman said: "A Deaf Rave in an underground car park in Edinburgh! Are you serious? Man this is going to be epic! Once experienced, never forgotten!"

MC Geezer added: "As half Scottish Deaf MC, it's an honour to perform here. It's all about the Deaf Bass."

The rave will also feature deaf dance group Deaf Motion.

Billy Reid, one of the dancers, said: "This my first time at Edinburgh Fringe, it's the world's largest festival and I'm excited to be doing it. I want to show the people of Scotland how I dance to the beat as a Deaf person."

His colleague Ariel Fung added: "I'm so excited about this massive event, it's my first time in Scotland and I want to meet the Deaf community of Scotland, and show the festival goers that Deaf can dance!"

The Edinburgh Deaf Festival is being run alongside the Fringe and is supported by the Edinburgh Fringe Society.

Deaf Action is also making Fringe shows more accessible through a variety of initiatives including the piloting of an interpreter on demand service.

This is designed to allow deaf people to choose the performances they want to see, at the times they want to see them, and request an interpreter for that performance. It will start small and hopefully grow in the years ahead.

Philip Gerrard, CEO of Deaf Action said: "Deaf culture has a proud place in Scotland in terms of language, history and heritage. This is something we aim to celebrate in a big way when this brand new festival, the first of its kind in the UK, gets started on Friday.

"We want deaf visitors to the festival to be able to go to a performance with an interpreter or captions in the morning, watch a deaf artist in the afternoon, and socialise in our bar in the evening. The best of both worlds.

"Our aim is also to welcome hearing audiences into the vibrant world of Deaf culture.

"However, our work doesn't just end with our own festival - we want to change the landscape for deaf Fringe Festival goers.

"This is why we are piloting our interpreter on demand service. It aims to provide customer driven access throughout the festival season. This means that deaf people can choose what they want to see and when - just like anyone else."

Other Edinburgh Deaf Festival highlights will include:

  • Perspective with Gavin: International standup Gavin Lilley shares his experiences as a deaf person navigating a hearing world.
  • SPILL YOUR DRINK: Deaf cabaret from Glasgow's Solar Bear theatre company which works with deaf and hearing actors, theatre makers, artists and young people.
  • The Funny Punny Magic Show: with the acclaimed Tricky Ricky.
  • Once Upon A Raindrop: Cheerful, funny, magic show for toddlers with a walkthrough performance with sensory games and magic tricks.

Edinburgh Deaf Festival will also feature tours, workshops and book clubs. The festival will also feature an exhibition and screening as part of Scotland's Year of Stories 2022, which has been designed to spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of deaf-led stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.

Performances will include a mix of deaf and hearing artists. All will be interpreted and captioned - and will be inclusive for hearing people as well as the deaf and hard of hearing.

Deaf actor and BSL user, Nadia Nadarajah, who has performed worldwide appeared in multiple TV and theatre productions (including the award-winning Fringe show Can I Start Again Please), will be the Edinburgh Deaf Festival Ambassador.

Nadia said: "I am honoured to be ambassador for Edinburgh Deaf Festival - it is special to me as deaf actor and creative artist. It is very important to recognise deaf works in the arts world.

"This festival is for everyone and will bring communities together, showcasing the best in deaf talent and our rich deaf culture. We can't wait to celebrate this together."

How a deaf rave works - it's all about the bass

Deaf Rave is headed up by Troi 'DJ Chinaman' Lee, who was born deaf. The music has more bass to give the extra vibrations for a multisensory experience, so deaf people can feel the sound through their bodies.

Deaf Rave also focus on the visual aspect of the performance with lighting, plus they have deaf dancers and perform signed songs.

They have previously performed at British Summer Time @ Hyde Park, The Great Get Together, Birmingham International Dance Festival, Latitude Festival, All Points East, and DaDa (Disability and Deaf Arts).

On the Saturday after the rave, they will be hosting a workshop at St James Quarter in Edinburgh for deaf people to try out DJ workshops. They do this by using Woojer vests which deaf people can wear to allows them to feel the music.

The full Edinburgh line-up is Troi Lee (DJ Chinaman), Matthew Taylor (MC Geezer), DJ Ceri Karma, plus the Def Motion dancers - Jia McKenzie, Billy Reid and Aerial Fung.

About the festival

TodayTix


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