Wesley wins place at master classes

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Twelve year-old Wesley Marchant from Langley Mill, who is deaf, has won a place on a prestigious performing arts weekend run by the National Deaf Children’s Society.

The charity’s Raising the Bar competition was created to highlight how much deaf young people can achieve, with the goal of making the performing arts more accessible for the 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK.

Wesley was awarded a place by its youth advisory board as well as by deaf arts professionals for his exceptional skills at performing songs in sign language.

Wesley, along with 29 other budding deaf artists, will spend the weekend of April 22–23 in masterclasses with industry experts.

After honing their skills and developing their talents, the weekend will culminate in a live showcase at the Ruddock Arts Centre in Birmingham, in front of hundreds of friends and family.

Deaf actress Genevieve Barr, known for her starring role in BBC drama The Silence, launched the competition at the beginning of this year.

She said: “I’ve always loved acting, but when I was younger I worried my deafness meant I wouldn’t be able to succeed in it. Teachers, family and friends encouraged me to keep working towards my dream – but sadly not everyone gets this support.

“Every deaf child should have the same opportunities as any other child, so I’m thrilled to support Raising the Bar and help shine a spotlight on talented deaf young people.” To find out more, go to ndcs.org.uk/raisingthebar.