Commonwealth Shakespere Company (CSC) has announced the creation of HandShakes, CSC’s intensive ASL-English Shakespeare interpreting program for Deaf and Hearing ASL/English interpreters and Directors of Artistic Sign Language (DASL) to improve their intensified language skills.

Christopher Robinson, CSC Access Advocate and Program Director for HandShake, says, “ASL interpreters and Deaf artists are undernourished in terms of where to be creative with their language. There are so many benefits to an arts program like this; in fact, the The Language of Shakespeare enables these students to improve their skills in all settings where ASL interpreters work, including but not limited to the fields of education, law, and medicine. . It also provides a non-threatening way to talk about complex topics, including diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility – we can learn to talk about things more effectively in this art form.”

The HandShakes program begins on Friday, July 8; For four consecutive Friday nights and Saturday days, the cohort of Deaf interpreters and hearing interpreters will work with lead facilitators Christopher Robinson and Rachel Berman-Kobylarz to learn the ins and outs, basics and nuances of translation and the signing of a Shakespearean text. The HandShakes program will run alongside CSC’s Summer Apprenticeship Program for Actor Training and will culminate with the ASL performance of Shakespeare’s Apprentice Performance of Romeo and Juliet, led by Associate Artistic Director Bryn Boice at the Suffolk University Modern Theatre, July 27-August 6.

To learn more, visit commshakes.org or call 617-426-0863.