Click on the each photo to learn more about our presenters.
MICHELLE A. BANKS, a native of Washington, DC, is an award winning actress, writer, director, producer, choreographer, motivational speaker, and teacher. Her television appearances include a YAHOO! Commercial, the ABC’s 10-8, the Showtime Series SOUL FOOD, GIRLFRIENDS (UPN), and Lifetime’s STRONG MEDICINE. She has also starred in the movie, COMPENSATION, directed by Zeinabu Davis, which has been acclaimed at film festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Burkina Faso’s FESPACO, and Toronto International Film Festival. The film ran on BET-Black Starz, and Sundance cable channels as well. She can also be seen in Hilari Scarl’s documentary about the Deaf Entertainers, SEE WHAT I’M SAYING. Michelle credits Jadolphus CW Fraser, an independent filmmaker, for introducing her to filmmaking and co-directing his feature debut, ALWAYS CHASING LOVE.
Michelle was chosen as one of 13 actors for NYC’s 2008 ABC Diversity Talent Showcase. She has appeared in plays such as THE C.A. LYONS PROJECT at Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA, STORY THEATRE with Open Circle Theatre, BIG RIVER at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, CA and at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, and FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF at the Los Angeles’s Globe Playhouse. This play won the 2003 NAACP Theatre award for “Best Ensemble”. Michelle was one of the first two Deaf African-American actresses to interpret for the Broadway play, HAVING OUR SAY by Emily Mann. After she received The Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship in 2002, she reproduced her original one-woman show, REFLECTIONS OF A BLACK DEAF WOMAN in Los Angeles, CA the following year. Her one-woman show has continued to receive rave reviews at venues throughout the country including Victory Theatre Center, National Black Theatre Festival, the Los Angeles’ Women’s Theater Festival, Ohio Wesleyan University, and the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts.
After Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama Studies from the State University of New York at Purchase, she founded Onyx Theatre Company in New York City, the first deaf theater company in the United States for people of color. Her work with Onyx for eleven years earned the Cultural Enrichment Award from Gallaudet University and the Distinguished Service Award from New York Deaf Theatre. She also has taught drama/theatre for NYC’s Board of Education – Deaf and Hard of Hearing programs and PS 47 School for the Deaf for four years. Her other achievements include Program Coordinator for Deaf West Theatre’s Professional Acting Summer School, Sign Master for Arena Stage, Broadway, and Centerstage, Outstanding Achievement Recognition Resolution of 1996 from the Council of the District of Columbia, an Individual Achievement Award from the National Council on Communicative Disorders, and a featured article in the February 1998 issue of ESSENCE magazine.
In May 2015, Michelle completed her Master’s degree in Organizational Management specializing in Organizational Leadership from Ashford University. Michelle’s most recent producing/directing credits: LOOK THROUGH MY EYES, SILENT SCREAM, Z: A CHRISTMAS STORY, WHAT IT’S LIKE? (One Man Show) and IN SIGHT AND SOUND: DE(A)F POETRYI, II, & III. Recently, Michelle was the 2017 Recipient of Laurent Clerc Award from Gallaudet University for her social contributions to the Deaf community.
Fred Michael Beam is an internationally known performing artist. He is professional actor, dancer, poet, and comedian, who has different artistic outlets in many forms. He has been a visual artist since his high school years where he won several local arts awards for his outstanding work. He has been ASL teacher, ASL translator for many productions, and ASL Director for numerous theater companies. Fred is also known as the first Deaf African-American to perform in a leading role in hearing theater — the Equity Theater in Chicago. Fred is the former president of National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) and District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates (DCABDA). He is the founder of Invisible Hands Inc., which is made up of a number of different companies including: The Wild Zappers, an all male deaf dance company which has toured nationally and internationally; National Deaf Dance Theater, a mainstream dance company for both deaf and hearing communities; and I Didn’t Hear That Color, a deaf African American touring theater troupe. He has been performing at venues around the world including Japan, Kentucky DeafFestival, and NBDA Conferences and events. Fred was featured in the Essence Magazine’s Real Man of the Month and has won numerous awards for his theater performance. He is also the coordinator of the annual DC Black Deaf Expo. He has taught at Model Secondary School for the Deaf for numerous years. He currently is an outreach coordinator of Sunshine 2.0 at National Institute of Technology.
Kevin Dyels is a professional sign language interpreter and a member of the Board of Directors of PCRID. He is a co-owner of a performing arts interpreting company called First Chair Interpreted Productions and commits to mentoring new interpreters.
Originally from northern California, Kevin presents workshops in theater, affect, team building, and self-confidence locally, nationally and in Hong Kong. He has a degree in theater and when not interpreting, Kevin coordinates interpreters for various conferences and works as a professional sound designer and disc jockey. In his spare time he enjoys international travel.
Tiffany Hill is a Washington, DC native, having been born in the district and raised in the Metropolitan Area, where she currently works as a trilingual (Spanish) interpreter. Having been exposed to Deaf culture at a young age, she began her American Sign Language education in High School, in a four year ASL program, which led to an internship at Kendall School for the Deaf, where she worked as a teacher’s assistant in grades 3-5. Following her graduation she went on to attend and graduate from her ITP at CCBCCC then start full time as a Staff Interpreter for then, Sign Language Associates. She received her RID CI and CT in 2004 and her NIC-Advanced in 2009. Tiffany made her first NAOBI appearance in 2005 at the California conference working as a core Interpreter on the team and solidifying her attachment to NAOBI national as well as to the D.C. chapter. Currently, Tiffany is a Freelance Interpreter in the DC area, serving as a mentor to new Interpreters.
Aaron Kubey was the first Deaf and youngest Executive Director/President of the National Theatre of the Deaf. He had the opportunity of working on numerous television, film, theatrical productions, and concerts during his professional career. He regularly works as a Director of Artistic Sign Language (DASL) in the Washington, DC Metro area. He has most recently DASL’d Kinky Boots at the Kennedy Center, 110 in the Shade and The Glass Menagerie at Ford’s Theater, and the Apple Family Series at Studio Theatre.
He currently works as a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Mr. Kubey is a 1994 graduate of the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. In 2006, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A) degree in Theatre Studies from the Theatre School, DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, making him the first Deaf graduate from this prestigious institution. He is a Chicago native, and a diehard Cubbies fan, who is thrilled they won a World Series in his lifetime and believes they win it all again, and again!
Kathleen D. Taylor, MA, CI/CT, NAD IV is a proud native Brooklynite who is a nationally certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. After obtaining a bachelor of arts degree from Hofstra University in Pre-Medicine, she earned her master of arts degree in rehabilitation counseling specializing in Deaf from New York University upon learning her Godson was diagnosed profoundly deaf. Her career-changing decision occurred because Kathleen realized her continuous dismay with the psychological, religious, and cultures needs/concerns. Her goal was to “make a difference in the world how others perceive people who are deaf. Want my Godson to feel proud of himself as a Black deaf male.”
Kathleen also has extensive experience working in the non-profit sector as a vocational counselor evaluator/trainer, mental health practitioner, domestic violence counselor, and director of an academic program for deaf adults. A career as an ASL interpreter was never a thought or consideration. Members of the Black & Latino Deaf communities began approaching Kathleen to interpret private meetings and events. Frequently being challenged to improve her skills by members of the Deaf community, Kathleen took the initiative to attend workshops, seminars and trainings to further develop her skills. This led to various interpreting agencies, post-secondary educational institutions and organizations to reach out as to offer her work. She has been self-employed as a freelance interpreter for 15 years and has been in the field of deafness 20+ years. Serving on various boards of directors for organizations related to the Deaf Community & interpreters, she is the former President of the New York Chapter of the National Alliance of Black Interpreters, Inc., and former Eastern Regional Representative for NAOBI, Inc. and board member of the NYC Metro Chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.
Because of her passion for music and theatre, Kathleen wanted to share her love with her Godson and members of the Deaf community. She has interpreted over a dozen on & off-Broadway performances, music concerts, community festivals, and music videos. Kathleen studied theatrical interpreting at Julliard and continues to share her passion whenever possible. She has also interpreted internationally & nationally for prominent religious, political, & civic leaders while continuing to interpret for post-secondary institutions and the community. Kathleen is a member of the Deaf ministry Interpreters at St. Paul Community Baptist Church and provides interpreting services for St. James Catedral Basilica. She also is a staff interpreter for the NYC Department of Education and an independent Mary Kay consultant.
To Do or Not To Do Theater Interpreting; that is the Question!
Learn about interpreted theatre and concert performances from the perspective of the theatre staff. Participants will learn about general interpreting theatre norms, jargon, vocal exercises, staff positions and roles. Through lecture, discussion and role play activities participants will learn about the process of working with theatres from the moment a consumer makes a request all the way through the process to the final Curtain Call.
This workshop provides hands-on experience for those who want to pursue in theatrical interpreting and applies theatrical techniques in ASL translation, role shifting, character development, and interpreting style.
After reviewing basic vocabulary and practices associated with theatrical interpreting, during this interactive hands-on workshop participants will explore the benefits of role shifting during monologues. Small group work is required.
Hands on experience in Sign language interpreted theater can be very challenging if one doesn't have foresight, knowledge, creativity and drive. It is different from a typical interpreting assignment. This workshop will prepare and refine interpreters who want to be theater interpreter. To become a skillful theater interpreter, one must be able to:
A. Understanding different method and process of theater interpreting.
B. Understand and convey the theater team's vision and artistic considerations.
C. Analyze Script
D. Translate and work with text and sign choices over a period of time.
E. Using theater interpreting tools to convey the message.
F. Understand the logistical and technical consideration of interpreters.
Translation to Interpretation: An interactive discussion on creating tools to up your interpreting game. In this workshop, participants will analyze how English to ASL song translation better informs decision making when it comes to live interpreting. In the form of a Ted Talk, coupled with interactive group activities, participants will learn about the Presenter, as well as analyze cultural nuances and decision making in creating accurate and colloquially appropriate song translations.