SUU Student Participates in Resounding Performance of Culture

Posted: February 28, 2017 | Author: Southern Utah University | Read Time: 2 minutes

Austin AndrewsLayton, Utah native Austin Andrews did not grow up in a typical home. With both parents having total hearing loss, Austin developed an understanding for American Sign Language early in life.

Now, a senior theatre arts major at Southern Utah University, Austin combined his talents in theater with his knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL). Austin taught two of the five casts members ASL in SUU Second Studio’s production of Tribes.

The play focused on a family whose youngest child Billy is deaf, and is raised to read lips and speak, but without knowledge of sign language. When Billy meets Sylvia, a hearing woman born to deaf parents, who is slowly going deaf herself, his interactions with her start to unravel the culture of the hearing impaired community.

Austin said the influence of his own experience having parents who are deaf has built a strong understanding for various cultures, disabilities and differences between people. “This play sends out a powerful message to both the hearing and the deaf communities,” he said.

“This experience has impacted me so much because it is giving everyone who see’s the play a unique introduction to the differences between the deaf and hearing cultures,” said Austin.

As a major with a theatre design and technology emphasis, Austin usually approaches productions from the technological side. As the ASL Coach, his time in Tribes has helped him develop an understanding of a director’s role. In this production, he was even able to bring in his mother to help look through various aspects of ASL in the play.

Austin said SUU has provided him with both an educational and professional setting for future job opportunities. He has worked for both the Utah Shakespeare Festival and SUU’s College of Performing and Visual Arts, in which he has recognized potential career paths.

As for his future, Austin’s dream career is to work as an Equity Stage Manager for Deaf West Theatre, a North Hollywood based total hearing loss theater and production company. Austin said, like Tribes, Deaf West Theatre gives the world a blending of the hearing and deaf community.

Second Studio: Second Studio provides students with opportunities to go beyond the work done on Main-Stage productions at SUU. The program strives for successful fundraising to help students with conference attendance and scholarships through performance, service and activity within the university.

Learn more about the College of Performing and Visual Arts.

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Tags: Blog Utah Shakespeare Festival Theatre Arts and Dance College of Performing and Visual Arts