Opera House debut for Irish Sign Language

Opera House debut for Irish Sign Language
Members of the Cork Deaf Club at last night's Derren Brown show which they could enjoy thanks to the a sign language interpreter.

HISTORY was made last night as an English to Irish Sign Language (ISL) Interpreter was provided for a show at Cork Opera House — for the first time in the venue’s 160-year history.

The service was provided for a performance by British mentalist and illusionist Derren Brown.

The Irish Sign Language Act 2017 was enacted last December and made ISL an official language of the State. The act places an obligation on publicly-funded bodies to provide access to services through ISL.

The Cork Deaf Club is hopeful more performances at the venue will feature an ISL interpreter along with other Cork theatres.

ISL interpreted performances have been run regularly at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre since 1999 and Cork’s Everyman Theatre has facilitated a small number of interpreted performances in recent years.

Cork Deaf Club chairman Graham O’Shea said the provision of an interpreter makes theatre shows accessible for the Deaf community.

“I have only been to the Cork Opera House once. That was when I was seven-years-old and was brought to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

“To be honest, I don’t remember much about it. I wasn’t able to follow the dialogue or the songs,” said Mr O’Shea.

“I am deaf and, like other sign language users, ISL is my first language. Through interpretation we have full access to the show,” he added.

A spokesperson for Cork Opera House said it will provide an ISL interpreter if show promoters can facilitate it.

“The ISL Interpreter was available for this particular show following consultation with Derren Brown’s promoter. In terms of ISL interpreters in the future, it very much depends on working with each individual promoter to see if we can facilitate requests for this,” they said.

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