British Sign Language in Bridgerton

While the ton is buzzing with the excitement of a new season of Bridgerton, here at Sign Language Blitz we are thrilled for a whole other reason! More Deaf representation! This time specifically British Sign Language representation.

Deaf actress Sophie Wooley, who plays Lady Stowell, acts alongside hard of hearing actress Alice Kitty Devlin, who plays Miss Stowell, as a mother daughter Deaf/CODA duo. Devlin called them the “The Signing Stowells” in a recent post to Instagram.

They first make their debut when Miss Stowell is presented to the Queen by her mother Lady Stowell. After she is presented to the unimpressed queen, Dolores uses British Sign Language to tell her mom that she thinks the royal hates her while they are walking away. In response, her mom signs back, “Impossible. You were perfect.”

A quill sits in a cup with a second cup next to it.

Bridgerton BSL Artistic Team

The two actors worked alongside Deaf artist, Camilla Arnold, to figure out the Stowell family’s signing style. Devlin noted in a recent post that one of the hardest parts for her was fingerspelling with no mouth shape as it was “so different from the modern way”.

While hard of hearing actress Alice Kitty Devlin’s character is a hearing CODA, she is trained in BSL and has a passion for Deaf history.

“Deaf people were signing in court in the 19th century (though most likely very discreetly) and sign language existed long before that!” Devlin wrote on Instagram. “It was so fun to work with Camilla on how a family would have signed in 1815 and how the CODA/Deaf Mama relationship would have worked in court.” 

A fun Bridgerton BSL fact, the creative team made the Stowell’s family name sign the BSL sign for antlers due to all of the taxidermy in their characters’ house. 

Sophie Wooley as Lady Stowell

Sophie Wooley who plays Lady Stowell in season 3 of Bridgerton on Netflix is a London based writer and performer, working across theatre, TV, radio and literature. She’s Deaf and also describes herself as a Deaf Cyborg. 

She’s from a Deaf family and went totally deaf in both of her ears as a teenager.

Wooley is known for her roles in Casualty (1986), Riot on Redchurch Street: The Director’s Cut (2023) and Bridgerton (2024).

Alice Kitty Devlin as Miss Stowell

Alice Kitty Devlin who plays Miss Stowell in season 3 of Bridgerton is a hard of hearing actress, artist, and actor. She is a performer at Bric à Brac Theater and an associate artist at Punchdrunk Enrichment. She also runs Hilarity Academy which offers tailored workshops for young people aged 6-18, run by professional comedians.

While she plays a hearing CODA character, she is actually hard of hearing in one ear. She is fluent in British Sign Language and has a passion for Deaf history.

Devlin is known for her work in Bridgerton (2024) and Zone Blazed (2016).

Disability Diversity in Bridgerton Season 3

After the first half of Bridgerton season 3 aired, many took to the internet to share their excitement about the various different types of disability representation throughout the first few episodes. 

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the representation is that for each one of their characters, their disabilities were not the main plot point for that character. Instead their each character was just seen as another member of the ton.

Besides the Signing Stowells, there was also a character in a wheelchair, and many people speculate that Francesca Bridgerton and her love interest, John Stirling are “autistic-coded”. While that has not been confirmed, it is very exciting for many individuals to see themselves represented in Bridgerton season 3.

All of us here at Sign Language Blitz, and many other disability activists, are hoping for more representation when the second half of season 3 drops June 13th, 2024.

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