Essex mum takes lead role in short TV comedy drama

A BUDDING actress is getting her big break this week as she starts filming a short comedy-drama for deaf people.

Amanda Richards has been hard of hearing since she was a teenager due to a combination of genetics and a rare neurological disorder.

Now 36, the mum-of-three is fulfilling a long-term ambition of becoming a television star when she begins a four-day stint filming for Deaf Beat, in which she plays a detective in the lead role.

“It is all very exciting and I am really looking forward to it, although I’m slightly nervous at the same time,” said Amanda.

“I had wanted to get into acting for some time but because of my hearing problems the roles I can play are quite specific.

“I was going to go for an audition as an extra but really wanted a main part. So I applied to audition for this short drama and found out that I had got the part.”

Deaf Beat is a comedy-drama filmed in London – and it will be completely in sign language. The film will be screened at several festivals over the next few months, including at deaf-led festival, Deaffest, and potentially at the mainstream Film4 Festival.

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It is from here that Amanda and the producers are hoping to make a name for themselves.

“There is not much in terms of programmes for deaf people on mainstream TV, only See Hear on BBC2,” said Amanda, who is a photographer by profession.

“We we are all hoping that this short film gets good reviews. The potential will then be there to make it into a series for television.”

But it is not just the film where Amanda is hoping to strike – as a teacher of sign language she is ideally placed to promote it and is well aware of its importance in every day society. She is actively looking to bring it to the masses in Saffron Walden.

“People are intrigued by sign language,” she explained. “My three sons can all do it and when we use it in public people want to know about it.

“It is an official language and so important to so many people – and I would love to start up some courses in the town.”