LB Shakespeare Company to host literature series expressed through American Sign Language

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This September, the Long Beach Shakespeare Company (LBSC) will launch a new series showcasing literature and poetry expressed through American Sign Language.

The series, titled ASL Literature Slam, will be offered free of charge on the first Friday of each month, beginning on Sept. 7.

At ASL Literature Slam, audience members– both deaf and hearing– will have the opportunity to witness signed performances of literature, poetry and more. Attendees may also choose to take to the stage during an interactive, open-mic portion of the program.

“American Sign Language is a singularly poetic and dramatic form of visual communication, well-suited to vivid storytelling and evocative self-expression,” states a press release from the LBSC this week. “Signers use hands, facial expressions and body movements to convey linguistic information to the eyes of others. The result is a living language rich in humor, emotion and personality. LBSC is pleased to be expanding its outreach to the deaf community.”

Three years ago, under the guidance of former artistic director Helen Borgers, the company began providing live ASL interpretations of its popular radio programs.

“ASL Literature Slam takes us to the next level, creating a secure, creative and enlightening space to share and appreciate signed language,” states the press release.

Maxwell Bradney, an ASL advocate, professional interpreter and LBSC volunteer, is spearheading the series.
“I’m hoping that our ASL nights will expose more people to creative uses of ASL,” he said. “And, in addition, we can raise awareness about LBSC and its continuing efforts to provide communication access to theater for the local deaf community.”

Ticket information is available by visiting LBShakespeare.org or calling (562) 997-1494.

Performances will take place at the Richard Goad Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Ave., in Bixby Knolls, during the First Fridays Art Walks on Sept.7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2 and Dec. 7. Doors open at 7pm. Performances are at 8pm, with open seating and no reservations needed.