University of Waikato lecturer wins Sign Language award

11 May 2018

Dr Laura Haughey.

Dr. Laura Haughey has been given the New Zealand Sign Language in Arts Award for her work on creating groundbreaking theatre accessible for both Deaf and hearing audiences.

It recognises Dr Haughey's work creating professional bilingual theatre, performed in both New Zealand Sign Language and English. She has created and directed two large scale touring productions, ‘At The End Of My Hands’, and more recently the trilingual ‘Salonica’, which was performed in NZSL, English and Serbian. The first theatre production of its kind to tour internationally, ‘Salonica’, was commissioned to tour around prestigious theatres in Europe last year and has recently completed a nationwide New Zealand tour. The European tour, which included a performance at the National Theatre of Belgrade, marked the first time that NZSL was performed in Serbia and Montenegro, and was developed to be accessible for Deaf and hearing audiences in all the countries it travels to.

As a director, Dr Haughey started out by leading Sign theatre workshops with members of the Deaf community in Hamilton in 2015. This groundwork grew into two productions and international interest in her theatre company Equal Voices Arts.

Laura was honoured to receive the NZSL in Arts Award. "The trip to Parliament to attend the Awards ceremony was wonderful. I need to thank the whole Equal Voices Arts team, and everyone who has supported these productions".

Laura paid tribute to her colleagues in the Equal Voices creative team, including Shaun Fahey, a Deaf actor, and Mihailo Ladjevac, an actor for the National Theatre of Serbia, who is also working as a teaching fellow at the University of Waikato in the Theatre Studies programme. In 'Salonica', both actors had the incredible task of working across three languages and cultures.