I'm a lifelong creative who is Deaf, and my time in mainstream theatre is growing finite. What I say next probably goes against conventional wisdom governing the industry.
If you identify as a hearing person with little to no exposure to Deaf people, and you are considering me as a designer for your production, please know this: I am that kind of Deaf who neither hears nor speaks well enough to pass for another hearing person, a reality that likely has influenced my career trajectory as a scenic designer. I expect qualified and theatre-literate ASL interpreters in group meetings and settings, and it should--and is--not on me to arrange that.
As a hearing person, collaborating with me will definitely take you out of your comfort zone if you have become accustomed to accessing, conveying, and understanding information within systems shaped by the supremacy of spoken (heard) language. Our collaboration will be a potential interaction of contrasting modalities as far as communication is concerned, one where you will have to check your privilege, and adapt to me like I routinely adapt to other hearing collaborators. If that is not what you find yourself willing to do, then I'm likely not who you seek, and after a long time, I'm finally at peace with that, with appreciation for the hearing allies I have met on my way.
So much the better if you are all in, though, with open mind and spirit. I'm actually nice and geeky once you get to know me, and I live in the DMV with my wife and daughters.
To get a sense of how I think and design, please check out this interview: “Deaf Designed Cities: An Interview With Music Man Set Designer Ethan Sinnott,” with Alissa Klusky, Olney Theatre Center. June 14, 2022.
You would be surprised at how many e-mails I receive with similar questions about Deaf theatre. I highly recommend these resources:
American Theatre - "Deaf Talent, Seen and Heard"
Miles, Dorothy; Fant, Lou. "Sign-Language Theatre and Deaf Theatre: New Definitions and Directions"
I hope you enjoy your ride through my website, which I will be updating whenever I can.