You can watch the clip on the BBC iPlayer website from 35:30. Yvonne Cobb visited The Rep and Braidwood School for the Deaf, speaking to staff and students and getting involved in the workshops.

The presenter reflected on her education, stating ‘I wasn’t even given an opportunity to do Shakespeare in my class, but for the next generation of deaf school children, that could be about to change thanks to the work of Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall from the University of Birmingham who is co-leading a project called Signing Shakespeare.’

Speaking about the project, Dr Rokison-Woodall said: “The main aim of the project is to make Shakespeare accessible to deaf young people. All of the resources revolve around films in sign language […] the first play we did with The Royal Shakespeare Company was Macbeth, and we’re now working on The Tempest.’ You can find out more about the project on the Signing Shakespeare website

Students from Braidwood School for the Deaf were a key part of the broadcast and shared their thoughts and reflections on the project. Students are currently studying Act 1 of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in preparation for rehearsals and their performance on 18th July at The Rep alongside Deaf professional actors as part of the Love + Rebellion Festival. Tickets are selling fast, but are still available to be booked from the Rep online box office.


This amazing feature follows shortly after exciting news from the wider project. Teaching packs to make Shakespeare more accessible to deaf students are being sent to every deaf school and major deaf unit in the UK.

Dr Rokison-Woodall commented: “I am thrilled that thanks to The Arden Shakespeare we can send these resources directly to all 22 deaf schools and every major deaf unit in the UK. Such an integral part of the curriculum and our national cultural identity should be readily available for all students to study and enjoy. Signing Shakespeare is one step in the right direction.”

Margaret Bartley, Editorial Director of The Arden Shakespeare said: “We are delighted to be able to support this important project, helping to give deaf students access to all that studying and performing Shakespeare has to offer young people.”