The National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD)
has a history that is proud and groundbreaking.
Touring the nation and the world for over 45 years, the acting company is comprised of deaf and hearing actors. Each performance unfolds simultaneously in two languages; one for the eye, American Sign Language, and one for the ear, the Spoken Word.
Cleveland SignStage Theatre has a distinguished background of accomplishments beginning in 1975. In that year, two talented Cleveland actors, one deaf (Brian Kilpatrick) and one hearing (Charles St. Clair), formed a group with a unique mission. They founded Fairmount Theatre of the Deaf to present plays that both hearing and deaf audiences could understand and enjoy. Their objective was to entertain and educate both hearing and deaf adults and children and thereby achieve cultural integration.
Their innovative approach was to have the actors themselves speak all the lines and simultaneously sign them in American Sign Language (ASL). This integration permits the deaf to follow both the action and the dialog without having to continuously switch their attention from the stage to an off-stage interpreter. Some deaf actors choose not to speak, in which cases their voices come from an off-stage hearing person through a microphone or another hearing actor performing with them on stage.