Video Transcript: What is "Deaf-friendly"?
LANDON KRENTZ: Hello, I want to let the theatre community know that I am becoming more aware of their commitment towards accessibility and being inclusive of the Deaf community in the performing arts scene. It's nice to see we are increasing capacity for this kind of work. I am very supportive of the idea. Thank you for thinking about access and inclusion. For finding different solutions to the gap.
However, there is one issue that I am concerned about that I wanted to share with you. The keyword "Deaf-friendly" is on the rise in the theatre, multi-disciplinary arts and dance community. All of them included. Somehow, they seem to believe that they have the ability to promote their shows as "Deaf-friendly" as a tool for outreach. This is a dangerous mentality to take on. Why? The Deaf community were not a part of the consultation of whether if they are Deaf-friendly or not. It's important to place an emphasis on who decides what is Deaf-friendly.
Whenever I attend performances, I have a very different expectation that differs from a hearing person's perspective. It's necessary to understand that "Deaf-friendly" requires cultural competency. Please think about hiring a Deaf consultant or Deaf artists who can get involved and build a relationship with you. I would avoid hiring ASL interpreters exclusively because they tend to be hearing people whose job is not to consult. Therefore, it would be easier and make a lot more sense to partner with a Deaf arts consultant to fully integrate your projects. Just a thought to consider!