American Sign Language Performance of "The Vagina Monologues" Marks V-Day 2009

Two American Sign Language (ASL) performances of "The Vagina Monologues" are part of The University of Texas at Austin's participation in this year's V-Day 2009.

V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls that was founded by playwright Eve Ensler. It promotes creative events to raise money and generate attention for the fight to end violence, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sexual slavery.

The performances will take place on April 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. in the Jester Auditorium (Jester A121A) on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Tickets cost $10 and will be available at the door. Proceeds from this year's ASL performances will benefit SafePlace-Deaf Services and the Mali Signs Project.

Services for Students with Disabilities, a part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the university, and a student organization, UT4REED: Rural Enhancement through Education and Design, are sponsoring the V-Day events. Don Miller, a director with DeafAct and assistant professor at Austin Community College, is putting his theatre expertise into directing the cast and crew.

"Austin has a large deaf community and rarely are there shows or performances conducted in our first language, ASL," said Lauren Kinast, assistant director of deaf and hard of hearing services at the university. "The last three years, the Gender and Sexuality Center has produced this show and provided sign language interpreters for each show. In talking with members of the deaf community, rather than having to rely on sign language interpreters, they wanted to see it directly in ASL. So, we are doing the show for a number of reasons: to provide support for deaf women, victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, providing a show in the majority's first language--ASL--and bringing the community together."