Peter Cook

Peter Cook is an internationally reputed deaf performing artist whose work incorporates American Sign Language, pantomime, storytelling, acting and movement. Audiences will likely find the stories so captivating that Peter's dynamic, humorous and often poignant facial expressions hardly need the accompanying verbal interpretation. Peter has performed at the White House, appeared on PBS and at numerous festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Peter's son Ethan will be joining him this year for the first time as a performer at DeaFestival. Peter is joining us for the sixth time and has become a favorite of DeaFestival.

Burton Bird

Burton Bird, from northern Saskatchewan, Canada, is a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation. Burton lived on the Montreal Lake Reserve and attended public school there until he was a sophomore in high school. When he was 17 years old he went to Saskatoon, Canada, for a hearing evaluation and saw deaf students using ASL for the first time. He decided that he wanted to learn ASL. He then began attending the school for the deaf half a day and a Native American school for the other half of the day. Burton made many new friends at the school for the deaf and began learning about hoop dancing while at the Native American school.

For the last 18 years, Burton has traveled across Canada and the United States performing his Native American Hoop Dances at Pow Wows, Native ceremonies and special events. This will be his second visit to DeaFestival.


Linsay Darnall, Jr.

Linsay Darnall Jr. is a staunch advocate for the rights of Deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans. He led the march to the U.S. Capitol from Gallaudet University campus to speak out for the rights of closed-captioning on TV. He is also a writer and director and has a passion for government and history.

Tammy Ellis

Tamara “Tammy” Ellis is a nationally known Deaf entertainer. She first made her debut at various US schools for the Deaf and performed for audiences at Gallaudet University, Deaf Awareness functions and several Deaf Festivals across the country. Her performance captivates children and adults with mimic dialogue and improvisational skits that warm the hearts of every audience. She has built a reputation in the Deaf community with her performances and has worked with many renowned Deaf entertainers such as Peter Cook, Linda Bove, Chuck Baird, Bill Carwile, Phyllis Frelich, and C.J. Jones. Tammy has performed at DeaFestival since 1998 and we welcome her again in the Children’s program.

Maura Hencker

Maura Hencker was born deaf and fortunate to have a deaf family. Maura has a deep appreciation for various art forms. From painting to theatre, Maura’s unique style always embraces a spirit of creativity. Maura is thrilled to partake in this year’s DeaFestival. Maura is currently a student of the EKU@UL Interpreter Training Program. She will graduate this December. Maura’s hope is to see Kentucky’s deaf community continue to thrive and become one of the best states in the nation for deaf accessibility.

Brandon Henry

Born in Maryland, Brandon was one year old when his family moved to Austin, Texas. He now attends Texas School for the Deaf and is in the seventh grade. In spite of his dwarfism, he is involved in various activities. Acting is one of his favorite activities.

During his elementary years, he was involved in the school play every year lead by Mindy Moore. With this training he got the role as Brom Bones in the “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” under DeafACT, Inc. Brandon became restless when there was no Drama class in middle school and began looking at other ways to act. He discovered YouTube and has made several videos under “Dwarfguy96”. Now he is pumped up to work under Peter Cook at the Children’s Program, “Around the World in 80 minutes” at DeaFestival 2008.

Monique Holt

Monique Holt, a storyteller/actress/director/ASL translator/theater producer... - was born in Seoul, South Korea, and was adopted by a white American deaf family. Being an Asian was not cool until the late 1980's and it took her a long time to embrace her origins. Monique realized it was okay to be Asian through reading many Asian stories.

Monique resides in Washington, DC. She is now in her final semester at Towson University and expects to graduate in December 2008 with an MFA in Theatre. She is, also a Gallaudet University Presidential Fellow and Adjunct Professor. She teaches for the Theatre Arts Department.

Monique is paying her first visit to DeaFestival and will be performing on the Spotlights stage as well as the Children's Program, "Around the World in 80 Minutes."

CJ Jones

CJ is known primarily as CEO, producer, director, writer, actor, comedian, and motivational speaker. He has traveled with the National Theatre of the Deaf and toured with “Children of a Lesser God” on Broadway. He has also appeared on NBC’s “Frasier,” ABC Family’s “ Lincoln Heights,” the PBS television shows “ Sesame Street” and “Rainbow’s End,” and was the host of “Happy Hands Kids Klub.” His latest job was a “voice over” for a Deaf Indian (played by a hearing actor) in a movie called “PathFinder” from 20th Century Fox.

When not pursuing these goals, he takes his one-man show ( on the road! For more than 30 years, CJ has shared his talents with Deaf and hearing schools, events, and universities across the country and around the world.

Liliana Morgan

Liliana Morgan is a deaf Russian who brings tradition, art, culture, and history to all of her audiences. Every performance lights up the stage with dazzling costumes and colorfuldepictions of Russia's diverse culture and folklore. Liliana presents lectures and demonstrations of traditional Russia dance and Russia Sign language. Her programs include the history of the Deaf Life in Russia. Liliana has been entertaining audiences throughout the U.S., Europe, and as far away as Japan for more than 15 years.

Crom Saunders

Crom Saunders is a professional student and a theatre hound. To clarify, he has returned to school to finish his second MA at American River College, this time in Theatre. He currently holds a MA in Creative Writing from Cal-State Sacramento. Crom has worked for theatre in almost every position possible backstage and on stage.

Saunders, of Sacramento, Calif., is best known for his involvement in ICEWORM, a non-profit theatre organization committed to breaking down barriers between hearing and deaf/hard-of-hearing communities. But he also is renowned for his brand of distinctive humor.

Keith Wann

A child of deaf adults, Keith is one of America’s funniest ASL comedians. Keith tours around the nation performing both of his one man shows “Watching Two Worlds Collide.”  In addition to his work in commercials, Keith has worked solo and in collaboration with other great ASL artists bringing to stage coda stories, Deaf Culture, improv, sketch comedy, and ASL student bashing. Keith lives in Brooklyn, NY, and works part-time as an interpreter certified CI CT and NIC:Master. Keith also completed a program at Julliard on interpreting Broadway plays.

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