Ground-breaking project for teens

SUMMER school holidays can be a bit boring when you're young but a for a group of deaf teenagers the last week has been anything but dull.The Suffolk teens have converged on the Sizewell coast to take part in an innovative project which has combined cutting-edge animation with puppetry and dance.

SUMMER school holidays can be a bit boring when you're young but a for a group of deaf teenagers the last week has been anything but dull.

The Suffolk teens have converged on the Sizewell coast to take part in an innovative project which has combined cutting-edge animation with puppetry and dance.

The six teenagers were taking part in Sign in the Summer, a project funded through the National Deaf Children's Society, Suffolk Artlink and SGR FM, which aimed to expand the horizons of some of Suffolk's deaf teenagers.

The project saw the 15 to 18-year-olds take part in four workshops which allowed them to use the latest animation programmes.

They also learned puppetry skills and learned dance techniques which they staged in front of an audience at The Cut at Halesworth yesterday.

Kathryn Wallace, project leader for Sign in the Summer, said: “It's pretty unique as a summer school arts project goes because the three main areas of study are digital animation, puppetry and sign dance. It's a real fusion.

Most Read

“I am really proud of what we're doing.”

During the project the teenagers learned from the best - character animator Steve Brown and visual effects animator Pete Wallace, who both worked on Jim Henson's Creature Shop, showed them how to get to grips with animation, while professional dance company Sign Dance Collective taught them to “sign dance”, which incorporates sign language and dance.

The project was specially designed for deaf youngsters and is one of only a few to be held in the region to cater specifically for the needs of deaf people.

Miss Wallace said: “In Suffolk alone we have between 200 and 300 profoundly deaf people of all ages. A proportion of them are going to be under 18 and needing programmes like this.”

And she said it could open doors for the youngsters who took part.

“I see no reason why you couldn't get a deaf animator. Why should the greatest jobs be exclusive to hearing people?” she said.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter