Festival for deaf people expected to attract 400

Chris Mathieson, Cr Michael Fraser and Vicdeaf officer Michael Parremore announce the Gaslight festival for deaf people, to be held on the Border next year. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Chris Mathieson, Cr Michael Fraser and Vicdeaf officer Michael Parremore announce the Gaslight festival for deaf people, to be held on the Border next year. Picture: TARA GOONAN

THE Hume region has the largest number of deaf people in Victoria.

A festival specifically catering to them will be held in Wodonga next year.

VicDeaf expects more than 400 from South Australia, Victoria, NSW and the ACT at the three-day event on March 6-8.

VicDeaf and Wodonga Council will host a series of workshops designed to help the public better understand the issues facing deaf people.

There are about 500 people in Hume region who communicate using sign language.

Vicdeaf chief executive Christine Mathieson announced the event yesterday.

It will be Victoria’s second such festival and the first for Wodonga.

“There is nothing like this to bring deaf people together to communicate,” she said.

Ms Mathieson said the festival was a cultural and linguistic celebration.

Vicdeaf Hume region co-ordinator Linda D’Ornay said she hoped the festival would change the perspective that being deaf was a disability.

“The community will see deaf people as they do everyone else,” she said. “They aren’t people to be feared.”

The festival will include art workshops, captioned films and theatre and indigenous performances.

Event organiser David Peters, who is deaf, said places for the festival were in high demand.

“A lot of people will come and people who aren’t deaf will become the minority,” he laughed.

The name of the festival, Gaslight, echoes the old practice of deaf people meeting under a stream of light after dark.

For more information contact David Peters on (03) 9473 1111 or email him at dpeters@vicdeaf.com.au

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