In October student Molly won Junior Performer of the Year at the 2016 Devon Performance Awards.

Expressive Arts Teacher, Deb Thomas, also came runner up in the category of Outstanding Contribution to Artistic Performance in Education.

For the last 12 months we have been working with Exeter based Paddleboat Theatre Company to create an enriched production of ‘A Little Man’s Holiday’ using non-verbal communication and British Sign Language. The show took the award for Best Professional Show at the Devon Performance Awards.

Artistic Director of PaddleBoat Theatre Company, Katy Dash, nominated Molly and Deb. Katy said, “Molly is an exceptional performer. Her and Deb have given an amazing contribution to the arts and Exeter Deaf Academy is always looking to push the boundaries. What the school does is often behind closed doors and we wanted Devon to be aware of all the outstanding work that goes on.”

Molly and other students’ dramatic flair has been nurtured through their regular Expressive Arts classes. Working with PaddleBoat Theatre Company the students have become accomplished actors recently taking ‘A Little Man’s Holiday’ on tour to venues in Exeter and Plymouth.

Deb said, “Drama is a wonderful way for Deaf students to access a deeper understanding of English so they can develop their understanding of texts further and explore emotions and feelings in a different environment. It’s an honour that our work has been recognised.”

Molly discovered her acting talent when she started here a year ago. She excelled in drama and recently won the UK wide National Deaf Children’s Society’s Raising the Bar competition in June.

Molly’s mum, Beth Thomas, said, “As you can imagine we are all thrilled and are really proud that Molly has been named Junior Performer of the Year. To see the confidence that Molly has whilst acting and performing is a joy to watch and something we hope she might pursue in the future as a career. Attending the awards with Molly and seeing her hard work celebrated was fantastic.”

Katy added, “Molly has grown and improved so much throughout the year we have been working together. She is now a role model and we hope she will inspire the Year 7, 8 and 9 students who are coming up behind her.”

We are a charity that runs a specialist school and college in a bilingual English and British Sign Language (BSL) environment for Deaf young people aged 4-24. Our English and BSL bilingual community gives Deaf young people a sense of belonging as they learn and develop their own language skills and journey towards independence and fulfilling their own potential.