Photo of Dawn Jani Birley.

Dawn Jani Birley

Shaking Up Shakespeare Interviewee

ASL Translation Team - Shaking Up Shakespeare

Panelist: (Re)casting Shakespeare in Canada

Dawn Jani Birley is a Deaf professional with many talents; an award-winning actor, ASL translator and TV host. Birley was born in Saskatchewan to a third generation Deaf family and identifies herself as culturally and linguistically Deaf.

A native American Sign Language (ASL) user who is fluent in 4 Sign Languages and a prominent figure in the international Deaf community, Dawn Jani’s freelance work in media and theatre brings her all over the world. Birley’s specialisation is artistic expression from written word to sign language with an uncanny ability for storytelling.

Dawn Jani’s work as Horatio in Prince Hamlet earned her the Toronto Theatre Critics Award 2017 for Best Actress in a Play. In Finland, she translated George Bizet’s Carmen from Finnish to Finnish Sign Language for the National Finnish Opera, which was the nation first ever. As the TV host for H3 World TV, Birley’s skills in International Sign are one of the world’ most sought. Birley also stars in I am Puff, animated digital series for children that talks about differences, diversity and acceptance. It is a children’s cartoon web series that combine live-action and animation, with ASL, spoken English and captioning in which has been developed into a bilingual educational app on the Apple Store.