Gil Eastman

Actor, director, playwright, teacher, writer

Gil Eastman was a founding member of the National Theatre of the Deaf, director, teacher, stage manager, and playwright. He was also a magnetic signer and storyteller. A native of Middletown, Connecticut, he was born into a hearing family, and graduated from American School for the Deaf in 1952. After receiving his B.A. in Art degree from Gallaudet College in 1957, he earned an MFA in Drama from Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.)—a pioneering achievement for a deaf person. He founded and chaired the Department of Drama (later renamed Theatre Arts) at Gallaudet College, and taught drama and “Visual-Gestural Communication”—his specialty and innovation—until 1992. Fondly recalled as a warm, congenial person, he was also an unforgettable teacher who made his classes challenging and fun. Indeed, his classes were so popular that there was an informal waiting list.

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