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Drama - Sound and signing

A new Christmas musical has been written - to be performed in sign language and English.

Writer Garry Slack had the idea for The Shining, Signing Star when he realised he had never heard of a nativity play using signing and the spoken word.

"If deaf parents wanted to see their child in a nativity play, that meant they very often had to book a sign-language interpreter for the performance," he said. "I decided that if I could create a nativity play that combined spoken English and sign language, then it would be possible to have a show that could be accessible and enjoyed by everyone."

Mr Slack wrote his nativity with composer Paul K Joyce, who won an Ivor Novello award for his theme tune to the BBC children's programme Bob the Builder. It uses no complicated vocabulary and only key words are signed. "In a line such as, `It's cold tonight, I hope there's snow,' the key words `cold', `hope' and `snow' would be signed. They're simple and easy for the children to learn," said Mr Slack.

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