Deaf Walsall-based dancer and choreographer Billy Read shared his journey with a group of deaf young people in a creative arts webinar on Wednesday 28 July.
The webinar, entitled ‘Your Future: Deaf Role Models in the Creative Arts’ was organised by the National Deaf Children’s Society and aimed to inspire and empower deaf young people aspiring to careers in the creative arts.
Also sharing their experiences and giving guidance were deaf actors Stephanie Back, Dilara Earle and Gabriella Leon, who plays nurse Jade Lovall in BBC TV’s Casualty.
The webinar, conducted via Zoom, was open to deaf young people aged between 18 and 25. The National Deaf Children’s Society plans to record its webinars as a resource for deaf young people to watch at any time, enabling them to choose webinars about careers that interest them.
Billy talked about his own journey into street dance and offered guidance and tips to the young deaf people hoping to pursue careers in the creative arts. Among other things, Billy advised the deaf young people not just to practice hard, but also to network and establish a strong reputation.
Billy Read is a choreographer and dance teacher, who was born and raised in Walsall and became deaf at the age of three. At the age of 21, Billy discovered his talent for dance. Despite no formal training, Billy has utilised his self-taught skills to start down the path of becoming a dancer and an artist, forming his own deaf dance crew and travelling the world meeting other deaf dancers.
Commenting on the workshop, Billy said:
“I was so pleased to be able to share my dance journey with the deaf young people who came along and those who watch the recording in the future. They asked some really good questions too. I felt really privileged to be able to share my own experiences and tips with them. I hope they succeed in whatever they set their minds to.”
Megan Lindsay, who helped organise the webinar for the National Deaf Children’s Society, added:
“I want to thank the incredible Billy Read for his energy and enthusiasm, which really shone through in the webinar. Judging by the questions the deaf young people asked, he really inspired them. Billy’s story demonstrates that deafness shouldn’t hold anyone back from following their dreams and that message really came through.”
The National Deaf Children’s Society regularly organises events designed to bring deaf children and young people together, support them to develop new skills and meet other deaf young people across the country.