How to use a creative method of learning and recalling BSL – as BSL becomes a national curriculum subject – Signdance Collective (CPD)

We are offering a 45-minute workshop with at least one BSL fluent company member and other experienced workshop leaders.

The workshop would consist of an introduction to the company, a warmup activity, exploring signs around a specific topic and incorporating that into a short signdance story.

CPD Session Objectives or Leaning Outcomes:

  • Language – A taster of how to use a creative method of learning and recalling BSL – as BSL becomes a national curriculum subject.
  • Increase understanding of D/deaf and disability arts.
  • Communication – the workshop will aid confident physical communication and teamwork.
  • Creativity – the workshop will encourage participants to extend their use and knowledge of sign language creatively. 
  • Curriculum Arts – A Signdance Theatre workshop can be used to help boost originality in devising for GCSE and A level Drama and Theatre Studies students.  Students can learn more about creative inclusivity and access in theatre. 

CPD Session Leader/s: Isolate Avila, Golda Dahan, Soobie Whitfield

Isolate Avila is a  founder and  co-director of Signdance Collective alongside her  Deaf partner David Bower. Born in Cuba, Isolate trained with Cuban Ballet and members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Company.  She founded Signdance Theatre as an art form in 1987 whilst working in the UK with  D/deaf company Common Ground.  Signdance Collective have their UK base in High Wycombe and since 2020  have been in the process of  establishing two new European organisations to continue developing SigndanceTheatre internationally.

Golda Dahan is a Deaf performer who trained with Moshe Efrati from Bat- Sheva and Sound of Silence dance company in Tel-Aviv.  She moved to the UK to join Common Ground Signdance Theatre in 1987 where she was a founding artist. Since then she has built up a wealth of experience in Deaf led theatre projects and teaching workshops. She reconnected with  Signdance Theatre as part of the Rothschild funded Next Generation project last year, creating her own solo work and joining with other artists to create an ensemble piece.

Soobie Whitfield  is a freelance applied theatre facilitator and teacher who trained at Trinity Laban, Westminster College, Oxford  and Central School for Speech and Drama. Soobie has worked in Dance and Theatre education for over 25 years, mainly within Buckinghamshire schools and local community projects. She has been working as a collaborative creative with Signdance Theatre on their UK tours,  workshops and community engagement since 2019.

Signdance Collective

Signdance are a culturally diverse, d/Deaf and disabled led, theatre company who pioneered Signdance Theatre. Signdance Theatre incorporates Sign Language creatively into productions, so it exists as an integral part of the work. 

The company was founded in 2001 and has been working with The Rothschild Foundation on inclusive arts training. The founding directors, Isolte Avila and David Bower, have been performing and leading workshops internationally for over 30 years.


Twitter: @signdanceco


This session will take place in the Secondary Education Breakout room