In November 2019 Billy Read spent a week making new dance theatre with children at Knotty Ash Primary School.

Teacher Kath Sweeney said, “I just wanted to let you know that the impact of your work with the children has been remarkable, both during the week you were here and after you had gone.   Over the course of the week, we saw some of our most shy pupils transform into confident stars of the stage.    Luckily enough as we had Annual Reviews taking place on the day of the final show some our our parents were able to see their children performing.   The parents were literally taken aback at what they saw – their children displaying  real  confidence and pride in a  project they had helped to create  – they worked as part of a team and each and every pupil believed in themselves and fully supported one another.    The   dad of a profoundly deaf pupil could hardly believe that it was  his daughter up on stage! He said daughter had never before wanted  to take a lead  role in a production of any kind  but over the course of the workshops  she had arrived home from school each evening  buzzing about the Deaf dance teachers.  The whole week was an incredible success, true inclusion at its very best.   I must tell you that nearly all of the children you worked with went on to create their own dance piece for the school talent show – the staff were amazed at how the children were able to transfer the skills they had learnt from you to choreograph their own piece.Thank you all so very much for a transformational week – we will remember it for many years to come and would love to stay in touch in the future.”

The children made a new piece called “We are the Revolution” They responded to Billy Read’s “Sign Criminal”, that he presented with Ariel Fung on the first day of the residency.

Kath Sweeney’s testimony  proves the value of Deaf dancers acting as role models to inspire Deaf children to be more confident in their identity.

Funded by Arts Council England