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The timeless classic A Christmas Carol will be brought to life for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community during a sign language-interpreted performance of the play next month.

UT’s Clarence Brown Theatre is offering Deaf Night at the Theatre on Wednesday, December 4. For tickets, call 865-974-5161 or visit the Clarence Brown Theatre.

A Christmas Carol is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly journey and transformation through Christmas past, present, and future.

Deaf Night at the Theatre is a collaboration between the Clarence Brown Theatre and the UT Center on Deafness.

“This is significant for the deaf community because it provides visual access to an art form at a venue that has traditionally not been accessible to those unable to hear the dialogue on stage,” said Associate Professor David H. Smith, director of the Center on Deafness. “When it comes to a holiday classic like A Christmas Carol, it shares the timeless message and spirit of giving with a new generation as well as renewing it for us older folks.”

UT sign language-interpreting students will translate the performance, which provides them a unique setting to use their skills that is different from the typical interpreting assignment, Smith said.

In addition to community members, a group of students from the Tennessee School for the Deaf will attend the show.

Sign language interpreters will be stationed throughout the theater— in the box office, in concessions, and at the doors, said Keith Kirkland, Clarence Brown Theatre manager.

“Deaf Night at the Theatre aims to provide an evening where the theater experience for the deaf community is the same as that for the hearing community,” he said. “Members of the deaf community can speak to us unhindered in their own language without needing to bring along a friend to translate.”

This is the second year of Deaf Night at the Theatre. Kirkland anticipates that the continued growth of the UT Center on Deafness interpreting program and increased response from the community will allow the theater to make this level of accessibility the norm for all of its productions.

The Clarence Brown Theatre will offer open captioning for those who do not know sign language during the Sunday, December 1, performance of A Christmas Carol. This is especially significant for longtime theater lovers who have lost their hearing due to age, he said.

The theater also offers assistive listening devices.

A Christmas Carol will be at the Clarence Brown Theatre November 27 through December 22.

More information about Deaf Night at the Theatre is available online.

To learn more about the UT Center on Deafness, visit the website.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,

David H. Smith (865-974-0607,