Learning Another Sign Language Just the First Step in Deaf Dancer's Journey

By Dobre, Petre | The Scotsman, January 3, 2019 | Go to article overview

Learning Another Sign Language Just the First Step in Deaf Dancer's Journey


Dobre, Petre, The Scotsman


S ometimes you meet someone who is so positive in their approach to life that you are instantly at ease and being in their company is a delight. It is especially delightful when they have a talent that shines so brightly that it is dazzling. As well as being a brilliant performer, Petre Dobre is one of warmest and most engaging people that you could encounter.

He has risen to so many life challenges that it would be easy to take him at his word when he says "I took the challenge in my stride." As we exchange stories over coffee in the office, it's clear that it cannot have been plain sailing.

The experience of growing up a deaf person in a hearing, non-signing family; learning to dance to such a level he was in the finals of the TV programme Romania's Got Talent and, after an international cultural exchange trip with Solar Bear, he took the enormous step of moving to Scotland to undertake actor training at RCS without knowing British sign language. He excelled in all of these.

When we recruited Petre to this director traineeship, we had little understanding of how hard it would be for a deaf person to work in an office environment for the first time, and how the medium of written language which we all take for granted is so specific to the spoken word. We have learned a great deal about how someone who is deaf experiences the workplace and every day we grow our understanding a little more under Petre's patient but honest guidance. Reading this article, I realise what a tremendous task we gave him in asking him to tell you his story in written English. All the facts are detailed but understandably only a little is captured of the person we have the pleasure of working with. This introduction is my attempt to give you some sense of Petre's personality and the person we have the pleasure of working with. Julie Ellen (artistic director, Macrobert Arts Centre).

Peter writes: I was delighted to be selected as Scotland's first British sign language director trainee at Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling, a one-year traineeship partially funded through Creative Scotland's Year of Young People fund.

Deaf and originally from Romania, I came to Glasgow three years ago to join the BA Performance in British sign language and English programme, the first of its kind in Europe, at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

To meet the requirements of the course I had to learn the basics of British sign language (BSL) which is different from Romanian sign language, but I took the challenge in my stride and graduated in July of this year.

The journey at Macrobert Arts Centre has given me fantastic opportunities in so many different areas within the arts. Learning with and being mentored by Julie Ellen has given me an exciting insight into the creative process of theatre making from a different perspective. …

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