Billy Read Presents Sign Criminal, 9.15pm, Thursday 3rd Dec 2020, Square-Eye Festival

Street dance theatre work in progress. Billy is developing a new work for Deaf teenagers with long term collaborators, Ariel Fung and Chris Fonseca. Watch the work in progress

Billy’s ambition with Sign Criminal, was for the story, sign language and digital media to be pinned to the choreography, blending the art forms in a new way. After three weeks in a rehearsal studio the process resulted in the use of a sign language in style that is similar to urban sign language, as well as an international deaf language called Visual Vernacular. It’s appeal is that it is not dependent on translation and shows deaf peoples creativity.

After the performance of Sign Criminal at Deaf Cultural Centre in September 2018, Disability poet and consultant said, “I don’t know sign language but I understood every moment of the performance. It was powerful and emotional.” Birmingham based Hip Hop dancer Omar said in May 2019, “The deaf dancers may not have the edge of the other street dancers in B side, but they taught me how street dance can tell a story.”