A talented young deaf performer from Stenhousemuir won the chance to show off her dancing skills at a major event run by the National Deaf Children’s Society.
Josie Anderson (10) starred in the prestigious Raising the Bar weekend in Birmingham, which featured an intensive programme of workshops in music, dance and drama, culminating in a showcase performance.
She was one of just 20 children chosen for the event from dozens of hopefuls.
Josie spent the weekend at the Ruddock Performance Arts Centre being mentored by professional deaf musicians, dancers and actors.
Then she demonstrated her “extraordinary” talents on stage in front of parents, family and friends.
The Raising the Bar event was designed to inspire deaf young people and show that there is nothing in the arts that deaf children can’t achieve with the right support.
Mentoring the deaf young performers were the leading deaf performance companies Music and the Deaf, Deaf Men Dancing and Deafinitely Theatre.
The 20 deaf young people, ranging in age from 8 to 16, were selected after an application process that saw them submit videos of their talents in music, dance and drama, demonstrating the skills they had acquired, their personal journeys and the barriers they had overcome.
Damian Ball of the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “It filled me with pride to watch Josie and the other deaf youngsters display their incredible talents – what a wonderful evening filled with truly memorable performances.
“It was great to see so many deaf young people showing their families, friends and each other exactly what can be achieved in life with a bit of belief, drive and dedication.
“So often I hear people think deaf people can’t achieve in life – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“This weekend demonstrated so clearly that with the right support, deaf young people can aim for the stars and prove the doubters wrong.”
The project caught the attention of deaf Hollywood actress Millicent Simmonds, star of A Quiet Place, who had a message for each of the participants.
She said: “When I was growing up I never saw deaf actors in movies or on TV. I never thought it was a possibility for me.
“I feel it’s important for kids to feel represented and see people like them on screen.
“If deaf kids can see me on screen and feel like they can do it, that makes me happy, but that goes for any career - not just acting.
“Focus on your path. Don’t make comparisons, because progress looks different for everyone and enjoy others’ success as well as your own.”