Keynote: Dawn Jani Birley

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

Keynote: Dawn Jani Birley
Knowledge is power, but sign language is my superpower…

For a long while, society has been promoting the idea of embracing diversity, being inclusive and respecting different needs; however, as a Deaf person whose native tongue is sign language, I face many different challenges and obstacles—both in my everyday life and as an an actor. One of my biggest ordeals was studying physical theatre in London; it was a Goliath I had to overcome on a daily basis, and I survived by using intersectionality as a tool. This experience became my motivation for using art as a platform to push for positive change. Prince Hamlet is one of several works I’ve undertaken with the aim of bringing together the worlds of signers and non-signers. —Dawn Jani Birley

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Toronto Theatre Critics Award Winner for Best Actress in a Play 2017 for her role as Horatio in Prince Hamlet with Why Not Theatre and Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf Person of the Year 2017, Dawn Jani Birley is a versatile actor spanning more than ten years of professional experience in theatre and film. Her passion is to show that Deaf and hearing folks can work together on the frontlines of bringing positive change to today’s world.

Presented with SFU Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology. Industry Series events are geared to performing arts industry professionals and practitioners whether they are artists, producers or presenters; emerging, mid-career or established. Industry Series events can be accessed with a PuSh Industry Pass or Industry Pack.