Kymberly Martin

Auslan: Doing it for SIX!

SIX the musical is on at the Sydney Opera House and on February 16 with Auslan interpreted performances.


SIX is a bold and modern retelling of the story of the six wives of Henry VIII in the form of a pop music concert. It is a celebration of female empowerment that is serving as the ultimate night out for all ages. And having Auslan interpretation at the show is another way to make theatre an accessible and inclusive place.

Opera House accessibility director Janelle Ryan told F2L: “It’s about removing barriers to make theatre for everyone.” She said the Opera House tries to do audio descriptions and Auslan interpretation as often as they can and how Covid has impacted everything, including the ability to interpret. It was necessary to construct a separate stage adjacent to the main stage to ensure safety and social distancing between the actors and interpreters.

Alex Jones from the deaf community who works in disability policy and advocacy also gave F2L his opinion. “I feel inclusive whenever a performance is advertised as an accessible event. It also makes me feel like I am a full member of Australian society, especially when it is not an afterthought, but part of a universal design approach when programs are accessible for all.” 


He said a show being advertised as accessible definitely makes him more likely to purchase tickets “When performances are advertised it will generate interest within the deaf community to buy tickets, but this did not mean every deaf person will go to every performance that has Auslan interpretation. Personal taste, genre and interest still affect which performance an individual goes too, but it is about offering different selections and styles for the deaf community.”

According to Jones the number or venues providing Atlas interpreters is rising.  He is excited about the show and will be attending with his family. “Having Auslan interpreters allows me to appreciate the intonation of the performers, sound effects and the melodic nature of the songs and to access my native sign language. Auslan interpreters also bridge the hearing cultural references to deaf culture in their translations.” He said he would not buy tickets for any show that includes spoken text that doesn’t have an interpreter.

Bookings can be made here: