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A Show of Hands to perform at the Mitchell Center of the Arts

For the first time, the National Theatre of the Deaf  will perform and provide workshops for students to attend on November 13th and November 14th at the Mitchell Center for the Arts’ Quintero Theatre.

Actors will mesmerize the crowd with a Show of Hands.

“It’s a play on words; a play on language,” program coordinator for the American Sign Language Interpreting Program Sharon Hill said.

The play begins with the actors revealing nothing but their hands through a slotted curtain. They’ll tell stories, fables, crack jokes and teach American Sign Language. It’s a program that combines multiple types of performances and places them all in one.

The program will also include free workshops explaining the history of the theater while teaching the art of drama and acting with ASL.

This organization holds a special place within the American deaf community. Just like every other culture and organization, it has its own values. It promotes and protects traditions over time. It retains a positive image and encourages deaf students to pursue their dreams.

“It’s remarkable to have this national organization come to Houston and shares stories of the national deaf community; it’s groundbreaking,” Hill said. “How many times will you be able to go to a deaf theater and see people just like you perform in their own unique way?”

Stylistically speaking,  NTD combines its efforts to make every show unique and the best it can be.

“For our company, we work by translating (the play) into American Sign Language and trying to make sure we have the beauty and essence of both languages,” Executive Director Betty Beekman said. “For the National Theatre of Deaf Performance, we sign and speak everything on stage, so it’s not like there’s an interpreter off to the side.”

Over a year’s work went into making the event happen.

“We tried to find a date with no conflicts, an intimate theater and a line of sight for all the performers,” Hill said. “So, I’m excited (and) I can’t wait.”

Every workshop and play has an availability of 180 seats, and each program is expected to be sold out.

Deaf students from several districts will come and enjoy the show. Students from San Antonio and other cities will drive to UH to watch the NTD do its magic.

Both the workshop and the play could benefit even those who aren’t part of the deaf or ASL community.

“My interest and major actually focuses on working with children who have communication disorders,” communication of science and disorders junior Maria Tovar said. “ASL helped me communicate with my close relatives, and I think that the theater would be a great opportunity for anyone to learn ASL.”

This event comes to remind students what NTD stands for.

“Deaf children sometimes aren’t given the opportunity to join hearing theater, and hearing people aren’t really involved in deaf theater,” actor Sara Guarnier said. “This combines the two and lets you create together.” “It lets people know that it’s not a hearing world and it’s not a deaf world. It’s the same world.”

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