Because of their disability, access to cultural events is often hard for the deaf and hearing impaired. The Theatre Interpreter initiative, enabled by NLB bank in cooperation with Ljubljana Association of the deaf and hearing impaired, is enabling the deaf to visit regular theatre performances on the stages of the biggest Slovene theatres, that were until recently exclusively available only to the hearing public. Sign language experts and actors in one interpret the storylines and dialogs into sign language directly from the stage, thus making it possible for the deaf to have a unique experience of watching the plays together with the hearing audience.



The Theatre Interpreter initiative received honorary support of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Borut Pahor, who is strongly aware of the immense importance of true integration of the deaf into society.

In 2019 the Theatre Interpreter initiative has reached an important milestone for the deaf and hearing impaired: signing a pledge, all biggest Slovene national theatres have joined the initiative, which is bringing twelve new interpreted plays to the stages in the year 2020/21.


Nataša Kordiš

Interpreter of The Masochist

As a child of deaf parents Nataša lived in a world of deaf until her graduation, after which she went abroad to get her degree in visual arts. She was shaped by her love for the language, nature, and art. Working at ZGNL she interpreters for deaf children in integration, while she cultivates her love for the theatre of the deaf for already two decades.

Natalija Spark

Interpreter of The Spotty Ball and The Addams Family

Natalija was growing up with deaf parents. At Faculty of Philosophy, she finished her studies in pedagogy/andragogy and received the Prešeren award for her thesis. After her master studies in psychosocial consulting, she was the first one in Slovenia who enabled deaf individuals to participate in the therapies in their language.

Martin Klepec

Interpreter of Party for Boris

As a child of deaf parents Martin has learned the sign language very early. Because sign language was present in his life since the beginning, the decision to become the interpreter didn’t come as a surprise. Today he organizes courses of Slovenian sign language.

Karin Brumen

Interpreter of The Realists

Karin is a child of deaf parents. On her professional path, she got her license for the interpreter for Slovenian sign language very early. When she joined a theatre group Silent steps, she felt a strong connection with the theatre. She wishes that the deaf would be equally included in the hearing world and that interpreters could pass them all the shades of a spoken language by using a sign language, facial and body mimics.

Lada Orešnik

Special coach of the interpreters and a certified theatre director

Lada Orešnik was born in the Czech Republic and it was love that brought her to Slovenia 10 years ago. She is deaf. She has loved theatre since she was a child. After her studies at JAMU (Janáček Academy of music and performing arts) in Brno, she started to act in, direct and lead different cultural workshops and to teach sign language.

Matjaž Juhart

Interpreter of The Addams Family

Growing up with deaf parents Matjaž has mastered sign language very early on. Today it is his profession, since he is a registered court sign language interpreter, is employed at the Slovene Association of the deaf and the hearing impaired, works with University of Primorska and is the head of the Institute for Slovene sign language.


»This was indeed
a special experience,
I liked it a lot.«

Frida Planinc (deaf) about The Masochist

»This was the first time
I have been involved
in a performance like this.

Petra Šiler (deaf) about The Masochist

»The Ljubljana Association of
the deaf and hearing impaired is
strongly standing behind the initiative,
the presence of the interpreter on the stage is of
great importance for the deaf

Gorazd Orešnik (deaf),
the president of Ljubljana
Association of the deaf and
hearing impaired

»What happened here today can
be described as magical, and is
for us one more life and acting

Alenka Tetičkovič,
actress in The Spotty Ball

»I think the Theatre Interpreter initiative is an extraordinary idea. With a small intervention it enables the deaf to enjoy culture. I find it only right that we make it possible for the deaf to see the performances.«

Nejc Gazvoda,
the director of The Masochist

Photo: Darko Herič

»Interpreting on stage for the deaf was an amazing experience because they are a very intense public, they immediately show their reaction.«

Nataša Kordiš,
interpreter of The Masochist

»I liked the puppets a lot, the grandma, the ball, the grandad, the drum!«

Ksenija and Sara Podlogar (both deaf) about The Spotty Ball

»Experiencing Puppet theatre as well as the stories and messages we deliver, is important for all growing children and with this initiative we gain another part of this precious audience, to give it some of the wealth we are creating here.«

Uroš Korenčan, the director of Ljubljana Puppet Theatre

»I saw the play … I am very surprised. I had no idea theatre is so attractive to me!«

Gašper Rems (deaf) about Party for Boris

»The interpreter has completely changed the play. Like a book that I read and understand completely!«

Jelena Bolšedonova (deaf) about
Party for Boris

»Today's experience of seeing and feeling how the deaf audience follows the play, I think for them, it is an expansion – a beautiful and rich expansion of their world.«

Darja Reichman, actress in Party for Boris

“I felt great, amazing, because the deaf finally had a chance to experience the play in a form of an interpreter and actor in one.”

Karin Brumen, interpreter of The Realists


Slovene sign language is the mother

tongue of the deaf


In Slovenia around 1000 deaf people are using sign language in every day communication. Instead of using their voice, the deaf are speaking through their hands, their whole body, their facial expressions, their lips and their head. Signing in sign language is what words represent in the spoken language.

The grammar of the sign language is not the same

as the grammar of the spoken one


The assumption that the deaf use the same mother tongue as the hearing is wrong; the grammar of the sign language is substantially different from the grammar of the spoken one in the same geographical area. That is why solutions in the form of subtitles are not optimal for the deaf. Here also lies the importance of the Theatre Interpreter initiative.

Sign language on its way to become one of the

official languages in Slovenia


In November 2018 The Slovene Association of the deaf and hearing impaired has put an official request to the Slovene government to amend the constitution and give the sign language the status of one of the official languages in Slovenia. In April 2019 the government has approved the motion, which means Slovenia is soon to become the fifth European state with sign language written it its constitution.