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Strictly: Sign Language Interpreter To Be Projected On To Big Screens At Live Shows

January 12, 2022

She was the first deaf contestant and winner of Strictly Come Dancing, and now Rose Ayling-Ellis is set to make history again by taking part in the UK’s first arena touring show that will have a British Sign Language interpreter at every performance.

For each of the 33 shows of the forthcoming Strictly Live UK tour, producers are providing a registered interpreter who will appear on two large screens either side of the stage, meaning deaf people can sit almost anywhere in the venues to enjoy the event.

After winning the Strictly glitterball trophy, EastEnders actor Ayling-Ellis said she hoped her achievement would help with “breaking the barriers” for deaf people.Advertisement

Her appearance on the BBC One dancing competition helped increase awareness of the deaf community and sign language. After her partially silent dance with Giovanni Pernice last autumn, searches for information about sign language rose by almost 500% and the BSL Courses website reported an increase of almost 3,000% in sign-ups for its free training programmes.

Ayling-Ellis, who stars in Strictly Live UK along with fellow former contestants including Sara Davies and Tilly Ramsay, said: ”I’m delighted that every performance of the Strictly Live Tour will be signed by a BSL interpreter and put on to the screens so the whole audience will be able to see it.

“With 33 shows across the country, I really hope this news encourages more deaf people of all ages to come and enjoy the show.”

Camilla Arnold, series producer for the BBC’s long-running deaf community show See Hear, told the Guardian: “To have BSL access at every performance on the Strictly tour is a huge milestone for the deaf community, as we have, up to now, been restricted to very few dates with BSL access for performances and shows.

“This is such an exciting period for the deaf community, with See Hear celebrating its 40th birthday last year, the possibility of the BSL bill (England) being passed at some [time] in the near future and, of course, Rose … shining the torch for the deaf community.”

Although many theatres and arenas, such as the O2, can provide sign language interpretation to make shows more accessible, the producers behind the Strictly Live UK tour said their show is the first national British tour to feature a BSL signing at every performance.

Strictly Live UK begins in Birmingham on 20 January before going to other major cities including Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and London.

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