Ethan Sinnott | head of theatre & dance at gallaudet university
My creative nature, combined with my Deaf identity, have long defined the essence of who I am.
I may be the only Deaf scene designer actively and currently working in professional American theater, and within this field, I often collaborate with hearing artists who have never met a Deaf person before.
As a designer, again, the fact I'm Deaf has always influenced and informed my approach to unit sets as stage environments with the ability to seemingly transform themselves through scenic elements manipulated by actors, lighting, and/or machinery, with the goal of creating opportunities for visual rhythm and flow, a musicality in itself, rather than visual inertia and static associated with most unit sets. I think that’s in no small part due to the fact we are living in an era where the power of visually-oriented media—in all its forms--has been ascendant for some time now, and it aligns perfectly with the daily streams of consciousness familiar to Deaf people such as myself.
When I design, I’m designing not only for the directors I work with, but for the lighting designers I work with, and for random Deaf audience members, too.
My passions are connected to theatre as a visual storytelling tradition: scenography and directing.