Rose Ayling-Ellis has theater show disrupted by angry man with ‘entitled rant’

Rose Ayling-Ellis had her performance disrupted by a man shouting about ‘discrimination’ against hearing folk (Picture: Bafta)

Rose Ayling-Ellis had her theater show rudely interrupted by a man spouting an ‘entitled rant’, claiming the performance was ‘discriminating’ against hearing people.

The 2021 Strictly Come Dancing winner is currently performing in a revival of Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy As You Like It.

As a British Sign Language user, Rose (playing Celia) delivers the Bard’s verse in a mix of BSL, Sign Supported English, and expressive physical gestures, making the show accessible for deaf and hard of hearing audience members.

However, one ticket holder decided to disrupt the matinee show on Saturday (January 28), which Rose has now said only highlights the need for better representation and accessibility.

Sharing photos from the set inside Soho Place, the former EastEnders actress, 28, began: ‘During the matinee yesterday. An angry man in the audience interrupted the show with an entitled rant screaming that we were “discriminating against hearing people!”.

‘He looks at me directly. It was shocking.’

Leah Harvey (Rosalind) and Rose Ayling-Ellis (Celia) in As You Like It

Rose stars as Celia in the Shakespeare play (Picture: Johan Persson)

Leah Harvey (Rosalind) and Rose Ayling-Ellis (Celia) in As You Like It

As a British Sign Language user, she uses BSL throughout the show (Picture: Manuel Harlan)

She also posted a video to her 540k Instagram followers, capturing the sweet moment the venue applauded while cast members high-fived after the angry man was removed.

‘The video is the reaction when we got back on the stage after he was kicked off,’ she said.

‘We pick up from Touchstone’s line, “The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly”.

Rose then explained how the West End show is inclusive.

‘In the same audience, a little deaf girl sat in the front role with her parents signing to her. Deaf members of the audience are able to sit wherever they want and whenever they want.

‘Hearing people reading the captions, laughing and reacting to our signing on stage, coming into our world and understanding Shakespeare because of this.’

She added that two days ago, the cast put on a BSL performance and 106 deaf people turned up to watch.

‘This is why we do accessible theatre,’ she declared.

Rose Ayling-Ellis

Rose feels passionately about the need for accessible theater (Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

TV star Rose was met with a lot of support in the comments, with fans praising her for speaking up and thanking Rose for using her platform.

One wrote: ‘For generations deaf people have been discriminated against and I’m delighted to see more and more minority communities are being given a platform. But, we still have a long way to go. You go girl, you are doing an amazing job.’

Another praised: ‘The arts are for all. This is on him. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re an inspiration to thousands. ❤️’

Rose has received rave reviews for her performance in the play, which is her first major role since winning Strictly and leaving the long-running BBC soap.

She stars alongside Leah Harvey in the production, who is one of several trans and non-binary performers.

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