Deaf performers are finally seen and heard on the stage and screen
Hard of hearing actor Joshua Castille has been passionate about performing ever since middle school. It wasn’t until he got to college, though, that he came into contact with a community of other deaf and hard of hearing actors. At only 21 years old, he’s been on Broadway and in a TV series and has directed a staged-reading of a musical.
“During Spring Awakening [on Broadway], I found my identity as a deaf artist, and I know now that there are tons of us,” Castille said.
Even though some deaf and hard of hearing actors, like Castille, have achieved acclaim, others face challenges to establishing themselves in the already-hypercompetitive acting scene. In certain instances, such as with the 2013 movie The Avengedi, deaf characters are played by hearing actors. Despite this, there are growing opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing actors. Lana Pollack, 11, has acted in eight plays and recently auditioned for a movie. She says that the growing opportunities available for deaf and hard of hearing actors “mak[e] me more excited.”
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