Douglas Ridloff Wows Brisbane

It was close to a sold out performance at the State Library of Queensland for sign language poet Douglas Ridloff’s performance last Saturday night.


Fresh from an appearance at the biannual Flow Festival in Melbourne, Douglas was ready to captivate audiences with his ‘visual vernacular’ and creative storytelling.




Douglas runs ASL Slam in the United States, a space for Deaf performing artists to share poetry and storytelling in their first language, ASL (American Sign Language). In addition to his work with ASL Slam, Douglas has acted as a sign language consultant on television shows including Saturday Night Live and most recently the motion picture A Quiet Place.

In addition to sharing his own poetry, stories and anecdotes, Douglas also played improvisation games with audience members which are typical of his ASL Slam workshops. One game required members of the audience to battle one another by throwing down the greatest number of different Auslan signs using only two set handshapes. It proved to be quite challenging even for those fluent in the language.




Douglas also participated in an Q&A session hosted by Deaf Services Auslan Teacher, Kim Pickering. Kim and Douglas discussed the inspiration for his poetry and took questions from the audience regarding Douglas’ Deaf experience, ASL Slam and his Australian tour.

Thank you to the Deaf Lottery for their sponsorship of the event, reducing the ticket price and covering the cost of interpreters at the event. The interpreters ensured the event was fully accessible with a Deaf interpreter relaying Douglas’ ASL (American Sign Language) into Auslan (Australian sign language) which was then voiced by another interpreter. It was a great opportunity to showcase the sometimes complex nature of Auslan interpreting when multiple languages are involved.

Follow Douglas on Instagram at @douglasridloff to see all his adventures in Australia!

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