Photo: Denise Armstrong

Denise Armstrong

Associate Artist/Research Associate


Denise is a professional performer, director and choreographer specialising in Sign Theatre. Denise’s career has spanned almost 4 decades and she has trained, performed and made work all over the world.

Denise trained in and studied Theatre of the Deaf (theatre in education, drama in education, sign theatre, film) at Bulmershe court, Reading University. She has trained with world well- known dancers and choreographers including Carlos Orta in Austria and Venezuela. Denise has also trained at the Trinity LABAN, London (Education in Community Dance), the London Contemporary Dance School (The Place), and Tanz Dance Course (Intensive), Berlin.

Denise was artistic director for Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre (UK) in 2002, which she led after 10 years working with the company as a physical theatre performer, dancer and choreographer. The company was commissioned and funded by Art Council England.  During her time as artistic director, Denise supported and mentored many Deaf and hearing performers; she has collaborated with theatre and dance companies from all over the world.

Denise has performed in many touring repertoire in Europe and internationally, most recently starring in ‘Unsung’, which was performed at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool (an Unlimited Commission). She has also led workshops in conservatoires, universities and in community contexts internationally.

Denise has worked as a regular freelancer since 2000 for ITV, ‘Signpost’ as a screen Interpreter and story teller for children books, translating well know selected children books and programmes to enable Deaf children to access stories through British Sign Language via the Signpost Website.

Theatrically well-known Actress Imogen Stubbs voiced over an interprative sign language dance piece inspired by a poem, that Denise performed for the BBC.

Denise has worked with multi award winning writer and dramaturg Kaite O’Reilly, director Bill Hopkinson and Dr Laura Haughey within Common Ground and also outside of the company’s work. Denise also did collaborative work with Carl Proctor of Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and Martin Lawrence (principle dancer of Sir Richard Alston dance company).

In 2019 Denise travelled to Aotearoa New Zealand to lead the country’s first professional Sign Dance Theatre workshop with Dr. Laura Haughey of Equal Voices Arts. She was also Sign Theatre Consultant on the recent Equal Voices Arts’ original bilingual production of ‘Where Our Shadows Meet’ (NZSL and English), accessible for Deaf and hearing audiences.

Deaf from birth, Denise is a native British Sign Language user and is thrilled to be back in Aotearoa New Zealand as a research associate working as part of the international team alongside Dr Laura Haughey, Rachel Turner and Thora Huebner on an international research project designing and developing an accessible mindfulness based performance training practice for Deaf and hearing artists.