8 of 8 | Dawn Jani Birley | Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada) | Deaf Women Herstory Month
Image Description: White female with blonde short hair looking at the camera.
2019 marks a very exciting year for Dawn Jani Birley. After wrapping up Canadian Why Not Theatre’s nationally-acclaimed Prince Hamlet winter tour with stellar reviews, Birley is jumping into another exciting production, The Black Drum, an extraordinary, signed music musical that is co-produced by DEAF CULTURE CENTRE and Soulpepper in Toronto. In the autumn, she will be playing Sarah in Children of Lesser God with Espoo City Theatre in Finland.
Toronto Theatre Critics Award Winner for Best Actress in a Play 2017 for her role as Horatio in Prince Hamlet, Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf Person of the Year 2017 and Swedish Riksteatern’s Artist of the Year 2015, Dawn Jani is a versatile actor spanning more than ten years of professional experience in theatre and film. With facial features that can be transformed into many different faces and a strong background in physical theatre, her career takes her all over the world working with Deaf and hearing actors, directors and photographers. With a Master of Arts in Physical Theatre with Merit from St. Mary’s University in London, it is her life mission to show that Deaf and hearing can work together on the front line in bringing positive change in our today’s world. Aside from acting, Dawn Jani is often summoned to give workshops/training, motivational speeches and appearances.
Some of her favorite credits include being casted in the world’s first sign language opera, Kung Karls Jakt, produced by Finnish Teatteri Totti; as Najdra in När vinterns stjärnor lyser här with Swedish Norrbottensteatern; and as Horatio in Prince Hamlet.
Birley was born to a third generation Deaf family in Saskatchewan. For most of her childhood, she was mainstreamed in public schools and attended Gallaudet University, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts.