I am a bilaterally profoundly Deaf artist, completely bilingual in American Sign Language (ASL) and English. As a Deaf artist, I bring a unique perspective to my current artistic roles as ASL theatre creator and performer, and my current administrative role as Director of Artistic Sign Language at Inside Out Theatre, Calgary.

I have lived and worked in the Deaf and hearing worlds all my life and recognize the gaps that exist between the visual and the auditory worlds. I hope to further establish professional sign language theatre by engaging from an intersectional standpoint: one that allows both sign and spoken languages to coexist in an artistic space. My work has allowed me to advocate for artists within the larger community so that Deafness and Deaf culture are acknowledged as vital parts of our cultural fabric. As a result of my work, I was presented the Award of Merit for Inclusion and Access from the Western Institute of Deaf and Hard of Hearing in 2018.

Community gathering and education play a core role in my practice. Having worked in arts networks and educational programs since 2012, and seeing a pervasive gap in knowledge, infrastructure and services for Deaf theatre, in November of 2018 I co-created and convened Montreal's Awakening Deaf Theatre in Canada Conference. This partnership with Deaf West Theatre (whose adaptation of Spring Awakening received 3 Tony nominations in 2016) explored both what existed and what was (is) still needed in the Deaf arts sector across the country. We succeeded in connecting Deaf artists from all provinces and territories (Northwest Territories excepted), from British Columbia all the way to Nova Scotia, along with their hearing allies.

My very first artistic explorations saw me provide Sign Language interpretation and performance for Deaf audiences for popular music videos on Youtube. So perhaps it is fitting that I am currently working on a Deaf-led ASL Opera - both as playwright and performer. This new work challenges social and artistic practices by exploring the intersectionality of Deaf theatre with the basic DNA of opera. A unique performance that will invite Deaf and hearing and audiences to experience the rhythmic and expressive structures of sign language and opera - JESSE, an ASL Opera will be about one man’s journey of self-discovery as he navigates Deaf culture, queerness and the rhythms of being human.

I have recently moved to Calgary, joining Inside Out Theatre, a Calgary-based disability theatre company equally invested in artistic excellence, community development, and deepening accessibility as Artistic Associate - Deaf Arts. In this role I look forward to continuing my own exploration of sign language theatre as a form, and to work towards the development of Calgary's community of Deaf performing artists.

Let's create something amazing together.