National Theatre of the Deaf
The National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) is the oldest theatre company in the United States that has continually gone on tours and produced original works. The company has visited each of the 50 states in close to 80 national tours, as well as many countries in over 30 international tours. It was founded in 1967 after psychologist Dr. Edna Simon Levine, set designer avid Hays, and Broadway's director Arthur Penn and actress Anne Bancroft of The Miracle Worker began planning and fundraising in the 1950s. Start-up costs were funded by federal grants, and the company held its first performance at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. In 1968, the Little Theatre of the Deaf was founded to produce shows for a younger-aged audience. The Little Theatre of the Deaf is also still producing and touring today. Productions combine the use of American Sign Language with the spoken word, in accordance with the theatre's mission statement to educate the general public about Deaf art and link Deaf and hearing communities. In 1994, the National and Worldwide Deaf Theatre Conference had its first meeting, in which global Deaf playwrights and actors gathered to hold discussions, critiques, and celebrations of Deaf theatre. The precedence and support of the National Theatre of the Deaf is considered instrumental in the founding and collaboration of a Deaf theatre community worldwide. The National Theatre of the Deaf has won several awards, including the Tony Award for Theatrical Excellence. Ex-NTD actress Phyllis Frelich won the 1980 Best Actress Tony Award for Children of a Lesser God produced by The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Linda Bove, a regular on the television series Sesame Street, also acted with NTD. Other famous actors who have worked with NTD include NTD co-founder Bernard Bragg, Colleen Dewhurst, Sir Michael Redgrave, Chita Rivera, Jason Robards and Meryl Streep. Today, the Theatre is located on the campus of the American School of the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut. The theatre still goes on tour, produces and adapts stage works, and is expanding into a few teleplay features on public television to continue to create new opportunities and audiences for Deaf theater.
- Gannon, Jack. 1981. Deaf Heritage–A Narrative History of Deaf America, Silver Spring, MD: National Association of the Deaf, pp. 346-356
- "Brief History of ASL". American Sign Language. Middlebury College. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Smith, Helen C. "National theater troupe breathes life into words," The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution, January 29, 1988
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