Now in its 20th year, Deafinitely Theatre, led by Artistic Director Paula Garfield, today announces Rose Ayling-Ellis as patron of Deafinitely Youth Theatre, where she started her acting journey in 2012, before moving up to Deafinitely Theatre’s HUB development programme to further develop her training.
Deafinitely Theatre is the first deaf launched and deaf led professional theatre company in the UK, producing quality bilingual theatre in British Sign Language and spoken English. Its Youth Theatre, formed in 2010, is an integral part of the organisation and provides an opportunity for those aged 14-25 years, whatever their communication methods, to have access to drama training.
Rose Ayling-Ellis says today, “I am delighted to become a Patron of Deafinitely Youth Theatre, a fantastic charity that is so special to me, and supporting the work they do is important to me. DYT, under the direction of Paula Garfield, was my first experience of deaf performing arts and I loved my time there. It provides such as exciting opportunity 14–21-year-olds to take part in drama activities, attend live theatre, meet other deaf young people and learn about getting involved in theatre. Without DYT, so many deaf young people would have limited opportunities to explore or develop their sense of deaf identity. DYT believed in who I was as an actress and who I could be, which is something I want for generations of aspiring deaf actors and theatre makers in the years to come.”
Paula Garfield, Artistic Director of Deafinitely Theatre, adds “We are delighted that Rose is now a Patron of our Youth Theatre. Having a role model is so important, especially for young deaf people who may not have had opportunities to meet others like themselves, and Rose continues to be a role model providing inspiration, hope and positivity to the deaf community and beyond, proving that deaf people can achieve big dreams. Rose recognises Deafinitely Youth Theatre’s importance for not only meeting other deaf people, but also learning new skills and learning about the theatre industry from deaf creatives, as we aim to build confidence in a safe, friendly, and accessible environment. It means a lot to us and the future of Deafinitely Youth Theatre that Rose is a Patron, and we look forward to working with her.”
Rose Ayling-Ellis is a deaf actress and activist. She is currently performing in As You Like It at @Soho Place, and her other theatre credits include Mother Courage (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Peter Pan (Birmingham Repertory Theatre). Her television credits include Summer of Rockets, Eastenders as series regular Frankie and in 2021 she won Strictly Come Dancing with partner Giovanni Pernice and the pair won Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment award at the BAFTA TV Awards in 2022.