Celebrating Our Past, Imagining Our Future

Founded in 1967, NTD has a long and rich history as a national and international performing arts organization. NTD pioneered a dual language theatre concept, creating a hybrid of American Sign Language with spoken English that has been seen in all fifty states in the U.S., in thirty-three countries, and on all seven continents throughout the world. Over its 50+ years, NTD has appeared and performed on Broadway, the Disney Channel, on Sesame Street, at the White House, and before luminaries and dignitaries the world over. In 2020, NTD moved to Washington, DC to better position itself as a national organization. With this relocation, NTD is also reevaluating its primary focus on producing and touring. The pause on live theatre due to the Covid-19 pandemic offers NTD the chance to reimagine itself and how it supports the Deaf theatre ecosystem.

NTD Board

National Theatre of the Deaf has a proud history.

The National Theatre of the Deaf has performed in all 50 states and in 33 countries, touching down on all seven continents. NTD actors have performed on the Disney Channel, on Sesame Street, at the White House, on Broadway, and for royalty the world over. The Tony Award-winning NTD was the first company to tour South Africa when sanctions were lifted and the first company from the West to tour China when relations were restored. NTD also represented the United States at the Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival and at the Deaflympics in Taiwan

The idea for the National Theatre of the Deaf came about through a Broadway production called The Miracle Worker in the late 1950’s. The Miracle Worker was based on the story of Helen Keller.

The star of the show, Anne Bancroft, and the Lighting Designer, David Hays, were captivated by the idea that sign language had a place on the world’s stage as a performing art form.

After the show closed, David Hays continued to pursue this dream and after nearly ten years was able to secure funding from the U.S. Department of Education and launched the National Theatre of the Deaf. NTD also founded a training program in 1967 and children’s theatre company,  Little Theatre of the Deaf, in 1968.

After federal funding ceased in 2006, NTD focused on programming for children. Little Theatre of the Deaf toured nationally until 2017, offering shows and workshops primarily for K-12 audiences. Generous funding from the State of Connecticut, foundations, and individual donors enabled NTD to survive these difficult financial times.

With the company’s 50th anniversary approaching, board members and interested community members began advocating for an NTD renaissance. In 2020, the company split into two separate organizations, NTD and Connecticut Deaf Theatre. NTD moved to Washington, D.C., to better position itself as a national organization.

Since 2020, the NTD board has developed a new mission to guide its future work. The board is also is working towards fiscal sustainability and undertaking long term strategic planning. With these steps, NTD aims to successfully implement its new mission, to explore what it means to be Deaf in America, through arts-focused initiatives and stories about us, by us, through us.

The National Theatre of the Deaf Board

A man with short curly hair poses for the camera wearing a black button-up shirt and dark blazer.
Board Chair

Tyrone Giordano

Facilitator, Deaf Theatre Planning Action Session via Howlround at Emerson College, March 2019; Conspirator, Dog & Pony D.C.; Assistant Director, Shakespeare First Folio! Tour Stop at Gallaudet University 2015-16; Adjunct Professor, ASL/Deaf Studies/Translation, Gallaudet University, 2012-2014; Teaching Instructor (Adjunct Faculty), Deaf Studies Program, California State University, Northridge, 2006–2012; Outreach/Program Coordinator/Writer/Workshop Coordinator/ Associate Director, Deaf West Theatre, 2004-2011.
Board Secretary

Dr. Joseph Santini

Dr. Joseph Santini currently works as the Director of Instruction at the Clerc Center in Washington DC. His career in education began in 2001 at the Centre for Deaf Studies in Bristol, UK, where he earned an MSc in Deaf Studies. He worked as an adult educator and case manager at the New York Society for the Deaf and then joined the City College of New York as a Teaching Fellow, earning an M.A. in Secondary Education in 2007. He has written or co-authored several print and online articles and books chapters in the area of education including the New York Times Online, and most recently a chapter in the 2019 book Deaf Identities: Exploring New Frontiers with Drs. Leala Holcomb, Thomas Horejes, and Oscar Ocuto. He has been involved in creating educational content in ASL including Camp Invention ASL, a modified version of the Camp Invention curriculum he worked on with Dr. Jill Bradbury of Gallaudet University, and hosted the First Folio! K-12 Educators Workshop in 2016. He completed his Ed.S. in Deaf Education in 2016, then worked at Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. to establish the first online Learning Management System with free full-length courses in ASL for Deaf and hard of hearing students.
Board Member

April Jackson-Woodard

April Jackson-Woodard, a Missouri native who now calls Maryland home, has been highly passionate in acting since age 3. Last 2012, April earned her B.A. in Business Administration and minored in Fine Arts-Theatre/Production at Gallaudet University. She worked as an actor and instructor for Quest Visual Theatre where she toured to Canada, China and Austria. April is a full-time federal government employee and freelance Deaf Interpreter in the Washington, DC area. April also launched two children storybooks, “The Baobab” in February 2013 and “The Blue Lobster” last September 2014 with Visual Language and Visual Learning at Gallaudet. April continues to be involved in a lot of storytelling, film, acting and as a motivational speaker. During her special moments, April loves exercise, travel, and to spend a lot of time with her two Deaf children, Akeisha and Keivonn.
Board Member

Richard Costes

Richard Costes is a Chicago-based actor, director, and accessibility consultant who currently works as a Board Administrator at Communication Services for the Deaf. He was one of 10 recipients of a 3Arts Award in 2019 and is also a 2020 ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Fellow. He has presented at Gallaudet University’s symposium on Visual Shakespeare and was a panelist and member of the 2019 Deaf Theatre Action Planning Session hosted by HowlRound at Emerson College. Richard is passionate about equity in art with an eye towards disability and intersectionality and often speaks on panels or gives presentations on how to create and curate more inclusive spaces. www.richardcostes.com
Board Vice Chair

Warren Snipe

Hailing from the DC / MD / VA area, Acclaimed Hip Hop Recording Artist, WAWA, has been hitting the ground running with music with insatiable drive since he first picked up the mic in 2005 and began writing and rhyming at an unstoppable pace. With 15+ years in the game with no signs of slowing down at all, WAWA's critical reception and positive acclaim has manifested over the years through not only admirable work ethics, but also through a charismatic, diligent original persona and genre that he labels "Dip Hop" (Hip Hop through deaf eyes), a unique sound of audio & imagery. WAWA's Dip Hop explores Hip Hop in a way where the focus is taking on challenges and educating people about deaf musicians in the hearing world, a pursuit where he hopes to put deaf Recording Artists on the map in the mainstream public interest. In 2016, WAWA released his sophomore album "Deaf: So What?!" which further explores the pursuit of proving that a disadvantage can be its polar opposite; an album of inspiration for those to understand and pursue music without the sense of hearing.
Board Member

Alexandria Wailes

Alexandria Wailes received a 2020 Obie for Sustained Excellence as an Artist and Advocate. She received a Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play For Colored Girls.. at The Public. Her career involves Broadway, Off Broadway, TV and film as an actor, director, choreographer and DASL. She works mostly in NYC and LA and has performed internationally in Japan, Senegal, India, Romania and Sydney, Australia. Ms. Wailes advised ASL interpreted teams for Hands On and TDF on numerous Broadway shows. She also conducts ASL tours for The Jewish Museum, the Whitney & LES Tenement museum. www.alexandriawailes.com
Board Member

Natasha Ofili

Natasha Ofili debuted in two TV series in 2019: Netflix’s The Politician as Principal Vaugh and Amazon Prime’s Undone as a Deaf Teacher. In May 2020, inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests, Natasha co-wrote and produced a creative project Am I Next? to bring focus on the Black Deaf Community. Natasha debuted in a series, The Myth of Control, directed by Emmy nominated producer Mikail Chowdhury and Chrystee Pharris, as Aimee, all filmed remotely, a groundbreaking experience. Natasha continues to represent her community to inspire future Deaf and Hard of Hearing Black individuals and People of Color to break into the entertainment industry. For the remaining of 2020, Natasha’s mantra is to surround herself with greatness and with those who see the greatness within her.
Board Member

Ryan Maliszewski

Ryan Maliszewski joined Mozzeria, Inc. as its first Chief Executive Officer in Spring 2020, and is working to open Mozzeria’s second national location in DC this fall. Previously, Ryan was the Director of the Gallaudet Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute as well as an Executive Strategy and Technology Advisor for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Upon graduating from the University of Arizona, Ryan began his career working on Capitol Hill for a United States Senator as well as for the Chief Administrative Officer of the House for several years prior to joining Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consulting firm largely responsible for managing billion dollar budgets and contracting services for U.S. Government clients.
Board Treasurer

Dr. Jill Marie Bradbury

Dr. Jill Marie Bradbury is Professor and Chair, Department of Performing Arts, National Technical Institute of Technology. She holds BA and MA degrees in Economics and English, and a PhD in English. She previously served as treasurer for the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Her research interests include Shakespeare in ASL and Deaf performance. She served as project director for the DC stop of First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare national traveling exhibition sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare Library (2016). Also in 2016, Dr. Bradbury received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to organize a DeafBlind theater institute. The project is featured in the documentary video “ProTactile Romeo and Juliet: Theater by/for the DeafBlind” (2018) and collaborative essay "ProTactile Shakespeare" published in Shakespeare Studies 47 (2019). Forthcoming scholarship includes articles on inclusive performance and on the integration of Deaf and hearing actors in recent U.S. Shakespeare productions.
Board Member

Ethan Sinnott

Ethan Sinnott is a DC-area Deaf theatre artist, director, scene designer, and the head of Gallaudet University’s Theatre and Dance program. MFA, Boston University. He co-produced with five other Deaf artists, March 2019’s Deaf Theatre Action Planning Session, in partnership with Howlround. The convening was a gathering of over thirty Deaf theatremakers, producers, and administrators from across the United States, intended to develop a future-focused, action-oriented plan for creating a national network and training-to-production "pipelines" that foster the long-term education and advancement of all Deaf theatre artists. Currently, Ethan works to teach, direct, and produce theatre at Gallaudet, and professionally works as a scene designer at theatres throughout the Washington, DC area.