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New Theater Gives the Deaf a Chance to be Actors

Arutz Sheva visited the rehearsal room of the Shema theater, which is made up of a group of actors who are deaf and hard of hearing.
By Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 12/27/2012, 2:42 AM

Arutz Sheva visited the rehearsal room of the Shema theater, which is made up of a group of actors who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The group, which was incorporated for the purpose of creating a new theater for the deaf, is working on the production "Macbeth" that will be presented for the first time in January.

Ella, an actress and teacher at the Shema theater, said, "The first time I appeared on stage here was at the age of 10. I was a little girl who really loved theater, so after many years, growing up and finding myself once again on the same stage is wonderful. It's fun, it's a big part of me."

Nava Ben-Shalom, who is a play director and one of the founders of the Shema theater, explained, "Here at Shema we provide social activities for children who are deaf and hard of hearing, from age 6 till their army service. We've been putting on shows for many years and we decided it's time for us to come out and show everyone what we do here and establish a more organized, professional theater. We aim high and the sky's the limit because we really want to position ourselves as an acting school and a theater for deaf youth who want to develop and be actors.

"There are people here who were born to act," added Ben-Shalom. "They were born to tell stories with their bodies. We don't have to talk. We talk with our bodies. It's unbelievable how much talent we have here and what fun it is to see these people acting."

Shuki, a drama teacher at Shema, said, "I've been here for 30 years, waiting for them to establish the Shema theater and I've been asking and asking. It hasn't been easy. We had difficulties but it's been my lifelong dream to establish a theater here, and finally it's time and we've done it. It's a great gift for the deaf."