Creative Licht is a project bringing together BSL/English Interpreters working in Scotland with those working in the creative industries with the ambition of up-skilling all those who took part to develop and improve approaches to interpreted performances.

It is worked on jointly by Solar Bear, National Theatre of Scotland, Birds of Paradise and SignArts, funded by Creative Scotland.

Creative Licht will continue with a new programme of work in 2020/21. If anyone would like further information they can contact Vix Paulo on

Creative: Relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something. (Oxford English Dictionary)

Licht: Light, that which illuminates. (Dictionary of Scots Language)


Group shot of 11 women standing in a workshop space, black floor and brick walls. They are all standing, bunched together, smiling at the camera.

Creative Licht developed out of a Deaf Audience research project by National Theatre Scotland in partnership with Solar Bear and Culture Republic over NTS’ 2011/2012 season. The project devised Deaf Theatre Clubs which took place in Access Scottish Theatre venues nationally, on nights when National Theatre of Scotland productions were being performed. A £5 ticket price was offered to deaf audiences who use British Sign Language to come and view a BSL interpreted performance, in return for feedback on their experience.

One of the key points from deaf audience members was the poor value for money when paying a standard ticket price and being offered a ‘side of the stage’ interpretation. Deaf audience members had to flick backwards and forwards between watching the interpreter (to know what’s being said) or the actors (to watch the performance). The need to choose who to pay attention to meant that audiences found performances tiring, at times confusing and felt it was difficult to stay connected to the show.

The feedback highlighted the lack of equality for deaf audiences with this model of theatre interpretation. Not only did the feedback highlight the lack of equality for deaf audiences in this model of interpreted performance, it also accentuated the gap in communication and understanding between the interpreting profession and those working in the creative industries. It was clear from the feedback that a conversation was required which included as many voices as possible in order to find a better way forward.

Given that interpreter training programmes have not historically offered modules relating to theatre interpretation, interpreters had no obvious way of developing their skills. The Post Graduate field of interpreter training is evolving and Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh now offers a CPD module in Interpreting in Arts and Culture Settings. The Creative Licht project developed and delivered a CPD programme of masterclasses over 2 years which offered registered sign language interpreters the opportunity to develop their interpreting skills within a performance framework. We also created a series of Knowledge Exchange conversations with representatives of the creative arts industry, interpreters and Deaf audience members.