Committed to innovation, collaboration, training, and activism, Deaf West is the artistic bridge between the Deaf and hearing worlds. Founded in Los Angeles in 1991, Deaf West engages artists and audiences in unparalleled theater and media experiences inspired by Deaf culture and the expressive power of sign language, weaving ASL with spoken English to create a seamless ballet of movement and voice.
DJ Kurs became the Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre in 2012.
He has produced several award winning plays and musicals, including Spring Awakening, which he shepherded from its beginnings as an intimate 99-seat theater production in Los Angeles before it went on to Broadway, earning multiple Tony Award nominations.
Kurs sees his role at Deaf West as integral to his continued advocacy and activism within the Deaf community. To that end, he is an in-demand public speaker and panelist: he has given talks at the Berkeley Forum and special events such as the 50th Anniversary of the National Endowment of the Arts.
Jeff Perri currently serves as the Managing Director at Deaf West since 2022, building on a solid two-year stint as the organization's Marketing Director. With a knack for high-level management and marketing, Jeff brings rich experience from the entertainment industry, specializing in Public Relations, Brand Development, Strategy, and Producing.
Before his role at Deaf West, Jeff honed his skills in the advertising sector, with a focus on entertainment and non-profit projects. As a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), Jeff brings a unique perspective to foster connections between Deaf and hearing communities in entertainment. Rooted in a commitment to meaningful change in the arts, Jeff holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from PACE University.
Jeff's involvement in the performing arts is diverse, encompassing roles as an actor, artist, and set designer. This extensive journey continues to unfold, with ongoing pursuits in set design that have led to his involvement in designing shows both regionally and off-Broadway.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
WHY DEAF WEST?
We are known for our uncompromising quality and unmatched track record. On Broadway and beyond, we are at the forefront of Deaf-centered storytelling.
We are the rare intersection where Deaf and hearing artists come together, creating a unique space where connection transcends language.
We are a multi award-winning organization and we always strive to pass this success onto the individual artists and collaborators that enrich our spaces.
We were built from the ground up more than thirty years ago with accessibility at the forefront.
We create jobs and launch careers for Deaf performers, creatives, and administrators.
We are rich with both Deaf and hearing talent, and bring the resources necessary to create collaborative climates leading to truly inclusive and innovative art.
We're committed to radical change and creating equity for all in the entertainment industry and beyond.
Deaf West stands firmly against white supremacy and the grip that it has on the American theatre industry. We are deeply committed to building systemic racial equity within our organization, industry, and community at large. Because of our unique position as a Deaf-led company, access and inclusion are one of the primary pillars of our equity efforts.
We recognize that racism and audism go hand-in-hand, and that the active pursuit of racial justice benefits everyone through the deliberate examination of systems of oppression — systems that disenfranchise people across a wide spectrum of different demographics, circumstances, and experiences.
This statement is just a beginning. It is the standard by which we will move in our community, and it will lead to swift and actionable change. In this effort, we will prioritize more robust leadership, more intentional policymaking, and more equitable access in our community engagement.
We are not perfect. We never will be. But through this commitment to the relentless pursuit of empathy, and of growing our understanding of these systems and how they are unintentionally upheld within our own organization, we are making a promise to do better. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback about our efforts, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Honor for Excellence – Deaf West Theatre • •
Best Revival of a Musical – Spring Awakening •
Best Revival of a Musical – Big River •
Best Direction of a Musical – Spring Awakening •
Featured Actor in a Musical – Big River •
Best Musical in Large Theatre – Spring Awakening • •
Best World Premiere Musical – Sleeping Beauty Wakes • •
Best Production – Big River • •
Best Production of a Play – The Solid Life of Sugar Water •
Director of a Musical – Spring Awakening • •
Director of a Musical– Big River • •
Choreography – Spring Awakening •
Choreograph – Big River • •
Lead Actor in a Musical – Spring Awakening •
Lead Actress in a Musical – Spring Awakening •
Received • •
The International Fete d’Excellence Gold Medal
for Cultural Education in Theatre
Highest Recognition Award by
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Distinguished Contributions and Achievements in Theatre
The Drama League
Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway
Actors Equity Association
Sustained Excellence in Theatre
Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle
The Champions for Change Award
The Mayor of New York City
The Peter Zeisler Memorial Award
Theatre Communications Group