Deaf Academy expressive arts plan for 200-seat theatre

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 December 2019

Molly Thomas, who is set to benefit from the expressive arts programme at the Deaf Academy. Picture: Deaf Academy

Molly Thomas, who is set to benefit from the expressive arts programme at the Deaf Academy. Picture: Deaf Academy

Archant

When the Deaf Academy opens the doors on its new multi-million pound home in Exmouth, students will get the chance to make use of an existing 200-seat theatre.

An aerial view of the Owen Building at the Deaf Academy. Picture: Deaf AcademyAn aerial view of the Owen Building at the Deaf Academy. Picture: Deaf Academy

Through the academy's expressive arts programme, its vision is to build bespoke courses for its students, offering training, education and life skills.

One student who is set to benefit from the programme is 17-year-old Molly Thomas who joined the Deaf Academy in 2015.

It helped her develop her confidence and realise her passion for performing.

She won the National Deaf Children's Society Raise the Bar contest - a competition for young deaf performers from across the UK.

Molly said: "When I got a place on Raising the Bar, I was like 'wow', I felt so proud.

"I took part in lots of drama activities…I've really improved my acting and I would love to keep studying drama in the future."

She completed her GCSE in drama in 2018 and is now at Exeter College studying level 2 maths.

Her mum Beth said: "Although Molly is profoundly deaf, she has always enjoyed learning new skills.

"Thanks to the Deaf Academy, she has had the opportunity to discover and develop a passion for acting.

"She had found drama helps her express herself in a way she hadn't been able to before."

Steve Morton, director of development at the Deaf Academy, said: "At a time when many educational establishments are being forced to cut back their expressive arts provision, we feel this is a bold and positive move."

Tudy Chappell, co-principal for education at the academy, said expressive arts encompasses much more than music, art and drama.

She said: "Creative arts as a subject is perfect for deaf young people to immerse themselves, but there are barriers and we want to be leaders in challenging those barriers.

"Drama and therapeutic arts can be used to embed fact, knowledge and skills.

"Traditionally, expressive arts has been narrow, but we see it as offering everything from theatre skills, art and music to hairdressing, jewellery making and fashion design.

"Our students instinctively lean towards exploring the creative and many have natural talent and true comic genius."

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