10 Dec What a drama! Newham-based actor teaches the tricks of the acting trade to deaf children across the country
Newham-based actor Charly Arrowsmith helped a group of deaf young people learn the techniques of acting in a virtual drama masterclass on Thursday, 12 November.
The online event was organised by the National Deaf Children’s Society, which supports the UK’s 50,000 deaf children and their families.
Under the expert guidance of Charly and fellow actor Alex Nowak, the eight deaf young people, aged between 8 and 15, tried their hand at drama during the fully accessible online masterclass, conducted via Zoom.
After a warm-up exercise, the group delved into the world of performance and did various drama activities based on character-building. They then used found items as props for the many characters they were creating, before finally putting their ideas together to create one big story.
The workshops received glowing praise from the participants and their families, including one parent who said: “I am delighted for my son who was able to join the event, it was so funny and creative for him.”
Charlotte Arrowsmith is an actress, director and advocate for Youth Theatre. She was Youth Theatre Co-ordinator with Deafinitely Theatre for many years, as well as working with Handprint Theatre on many family projects across the UK.
She was the first ever Deaf actress in the Royal Shakespeare Company and the first Deaf actress to understudy a hearing role. She is passionate about creating more opportunities for Deaf young people within theatre.
Commenting on the workshop, Charly said:
“It was great to be creative with the young people. It has been such a hard year for everyone, but especially Deaf people, and to be able to do a drama workshop together in different places in the country was great fun!”
Sally McNamara, Activity Co-ordinator at the National Deaf Children’s Society, who helped organise the workshops, added:
“I want to thank Charly and Alex for their energy and enthusiasm, which really shone through in her workshop. The deaf young people absolutely adored it. In no time at all they created their own story. They were all brilliant!
“At the National Deaf Children’s Society, we know just how challenging lockdown and this pandemic has been for so many families. We’re running events to bring them together, support them to develop new skills and to meet other deaf young people across the county who are going through similar experiences.”
In addition to the drama masterclass, the National Deaf Children’s Society has organised a wide range of virtual activity workshops for deaf children and young people this autumn, including activities such as creative writing, street dance, illustration and rapping.