Welcome to Judy McFerran's Personal Fundraising Page!


Join me in this journey I am taking into Billy's deaf world and witness the changes that can happen to all of us.

I was honoured to be chosen to play Billy's mother in this amazing production at Studio Theatre. As we go through the rehearsal process with Connor, a deaf actor, we are all learning the value of the wonderful group of people from NICA Consolidated: Network of Interpreters, Consultants, and Advocates. Nicole Sanders heads this team of interpreters who are all giving their time and skills to this project. They are doing it because they believe in the project, and we are raising funds to pay them because we believe in the value of their continued in work in the Edmonton community.

Join me in opening eyes and ears to those unheard voices that deserve a voice.


Raised of $5,000 goal.






Days Left
This campaign ended on Thursday, Jun. 11, 2015

Tribes: Not your typical play

The Department of Drama at the University of Alberta is seeking support for the production ofTribes. 

This unusual but very important play introduces a perspective not often witnessed on stage. Written by Nina Raine,
Tribes revolves around Billy, a young deaf man whose family has taught him to lip-read and speak. They have refused to learn any form of Sign Language, and are intent on keeping him away from the Deaf community. When Billy is finally introduced to Sign, a whole new world of communication and community opens up for him. Tribes explores the triumphs, dilemmas and familial conflicts that accompany Billy's discovery of his true identity. 

Billy is played by Connor Yuzwenko-Martin, a local Deaf actor with a passion for American Sign Language (ASL) advocacy. We are hoping this play opens up dialogue about accessibility, the Deaf community, and how we can take action to provide a more inclusive space in the theatre. The hearing audience has a lot to learn from this production. The exposure to ASL creates a richer and more diverse community, which can only expand the artistic scope of theatre.

To make rehearsals possible, we have enlisted the help of a fantastic group of professional ASL interpreters who work very hard to facilitate communication between all of us.

We will have live ASL interpretation for at least two performances of the ten scheduled. Your support will go towards the additional production costs of interpreters for these performances.

Our goal is not only accessibility for Deaf audiences, but to enhance awareness in the community at large. This is an essential part of the production, and the guiding mission for our Tribes team. We hope this initiative can set a precedent in the Edmonton theatre community, encouraging future productions to consider this form of inclusivity.

In performance, the play is fast paced and sometimes chaotic. An essential part of the making performance accessible is to rehearse with the interpreters and incorporate them into the staging.This takes time and coordination on a large scale. Bringing Tribes to the Edmonton community is a unique challenge, since we are staging a play about Deafness in a predominantly hearing world.

We want to do this properly, which is why we have recruited NICA Consolidated (Network of Interpreters, Consultants and Advocates) to be our interpreter team.  

 The interpretation element is in addition to what would normally be in the budget for the production. This is why we are asking for your help! Most theatre productions do not provide fully accessible performances; accessibility is more than a wheelchair ramp. Our hope is that the results of this campaign open the door to progress in understanding the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing within the theatre community.


We are looking to raise $5,000 toward this additional production costs. Our generous interpreters are making Tribes truly accessible to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing audience in our city. 

The MFA students who are taking part in this unique education experience are Amanda Bergen (MFA Directing) and Robyn Ayles (MFA Design). They are directing and designing this fully accessible production. 

Less than 1 week left! Please help us recognize the generosity of these women! 

  Published on Saturday, Jun. 6, 2015 at 12:48 AM (MST)
Nicole Sander, head of NICA, has individually contributed upwards of 300 hours of volunteered time over the 6 weeks of this project!

Her team members have contributed hundreds of hours as well. All this generosity has allowed Tribesto be accessible to the d/Deaf community as well as making it possible to have Connor Yuzwenko-Martin as a cast member. 

Without these incredible women, the cost of this important project would have exceeded the budget of the production. These additional costs would likely have stopped this project from moving ahead. 

Nicole and her team realized the value of Tribes and its ability to draw attention to the issue of accessibility of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The $5000 we are raising for Nicole and her team is a small percentage of the total value of their time! Many of these interpreters balanced their full time jobs, family, and other responsibilities to create this opportunity for so many to experience. 
With less than a week left we are at 78% of our goal, help us raise the remaining amount through sharing and if you can, donating. We all thank you for your efforts!


Alicia Ponciano 

  Published on Wednesday, May. 20, 2015 at 09:51 PM (MST)
I am honoured to be part of a production that offers an entertaining means of educating society on some of the trials and tribulations of deafness. I am proud to be part of such a wonderful cast and crew and all of the hard work that went into making this work of art amusing and accessible to our deaf community. 
Look forward to seeing you at the show!

Apryl Morrison  

  Published on Wednesday, May. 20, 2015 at 09:49 PM (MST)
I started down this path when my mother started working with some Deaf individuals who needed more help in the day. They were labeled as Deaf Plus. Meaning there was some developmental issues, or other things that made getting through their daily lives without help impossible. My mom only knew the very basic signs, ones that would get her through the day. She of course taught me and I learned from her books she had laying around the house. 

When it was time for me to go to high school the opportunity arouse for me to take an American Sign Language class. My mother wouldn't let me turn it down, even if I wanted to take french.I took ASL, I met a wonderful teacher who nurtured and encouraged me in my learning. She also provided every opportunity to better my ASL. With her help and guidance I finally figured out where I was headed in my career. 

I went to Vancouver Community College and took ASL and Deaf studies, afterward I went to Douglas College for the interpreting program. I graduated in June of 2010 and moved back to Edmonton, most of my career has been in an educational setting. However my heart has always been with the theater. I had always jumped at the opportunity to volunteer when I was a student if a request came in to do a theater production. So when Nicole Sander asked if I would be willing to dedicate some time to the Tribes production then I jumped at the chance. 

It has been wonderful to be with the cast and crew and of course the wonderful director Amanda Bergen through this process. I thank Nicole for this opportunity and the entire cast for letting us be part of this production. Without this amazing cast and crew working so well together this would never have gone so smoothly. 

Thank you for this opportunity!

22 days left and 44% of our goal has been reached! 

  Published on Wednesday, May. 20, 2015 at 09:33 PM (MST)
We have been had so much fun presenting this show to an audience! On Saturday we will close the show with our last live interpreted performance! Check out the radio interview Connor, Nicole and I did for CBC with Mark Connolly. We're hoping to get a transcript and will share it when we do! If you'd like to read more about the show's reception check out our earlier updates. 

Meet Nicole Sander! The coordinator of our ASL Interpreter Team! 

  Published on Sunday, May. 17, 2015 at 08:45 PM (MST)
Nicole Sander, CEO NICA Consolidated                        

I started out my career in Speech Language Pathology. At the time I was fascinated in the language pathology end of practice, whereas my field was (and sadly still is) strongly focused on speech (and speech only!) for D/deaf individuals. Seeing that D/deaf children raised with speech alone or those who were exposed to sign language later in life when they "failed" at speaking, were developing in parallel to feral children who's language, social skills and world understanding remained stifled, I felt the need to push further into the language most natural for D/deaf people since it is visually accessible; American Sign Language (ASL).

I began an ASL Immersion course, 5 days a week, 7 hours a day. I fell in love with the beauty of the language and the community, and was strongly encouraged by my Instructors to continue and become a professional Interpreter. I spent 8 years freelancing in Southern Ontario as professional ASL/English Interpreter, then moved to Edmonton where my son was born. Low and behold, he was Deaf! But he had language. Cart before the horse seems to be a commonality in my path of life... Being a parent very "in the know" around deafness, educational needs, language development, assistive technology and accessibility, I never took good enough as good enough for my son, because it wasn't.  Many school Administrators and Boards have heard my straightforward and honest Human Rights challenges to improve the education of D/deaf children. Their crutch always being a lack of funding or outright refusal to change. I have seen it as an inability to open their minds to new perspectives in accommodation. I believe that no child is a recipe. In 2009 NICA Consolidated was formally established. We realized that more than communication access was needed to break down barriers of every day living. Luckily my son, being bi-lingual and bi-cultural, survived the arduous journey through a system who's wheels of change move much to slowly, yet the scars of oppressors and horrid experiences still remain with us. Scars like Billy's...

When Amanda Bergen spoke to me of TRIBES and the brave endeavour she wanted to dive into, I was fully onboard. I have a strong theatrical interpreting background and a huge motivation to encourage inclusive environments for all people and most definitely the continually over-looked people of the Deaf Community. TRIBES has been an amazing experience, drawing from my professional life, hitting hard in my personal life and the dream I have that one day D/deaf people won't have to suffer neglect due to the assumptions of a hearing world; that their language will be validated, even celebrated and that inclusive settings become common place, rather than a constant fight to be a "part" of mainstream society for those not within the norm. It's not really the D/deaf that need curing - it's often the hearing - through sharing, bringing awareness forth and creating inclusive spaces it can all be achieved.

Thank you to Amanda Bergen, Connor Yuzwenko-Martin and all the cast & crew of TRIBES, as well as my family tribe of which I have been absent from for several weeks now due to rehearsals, and my professional tribe of colleagues that have given up countless unpaid hours of their skilled time to work with me to ensure that one of the communities we serve ~ the Deaf Community ~ has the ability to enjoy a play that is about their own life experience! What an honour this has been! 

Thank you all for your kind support!

Wow! Only two days in and we've reached 22% of our goal! 

  Published on Thursday, May. 14, 2015 at 03:44 PM (MST)
Thank you to our supporters! With your help we are well on our way to reaching our goal. We have had our preview and tonight is opening night! Here is a photo of  Connor Yuzwenko-Martin and Bobbi Goddard, playing Billy and Sylvia. If you want to read more about Connor's experience as a Deaf actor in Tribes,check out his blog here http://yuzmarconnor.com/2015/04/29/deaf-accent/

(Photo by Ed Ellis, Set/Light/Costume design by Robyn Ayles)

Barb Mykle-Hotzon

Gave $50.00

Louella Webber

Gave $25.00

Judith Haynes

Gave $20.00

abner brown

Gave $50.00

Marjorie Chan

Gave $25.00

Shane Riczu

Gave $50.00

Judi Bauer

Gave $50.00

Amanda Bergen

Gave $50.00

Shawn Clackett

Gave $250.00

Nadine Tratch

Gave $100.00

Anna-Maria LeMaistre

Gave $50.00

Brianne Fahlman

Gave $25.00

Elissa Weinzimmer

Gave $5.00

Jan Selman

Gave $500.00

J Brooke Leifso

Gave $25.00

Shauna Lee Allen

Gave $25.00

Terah Jans

Gave $20.00

Hayley Yuzwenko

Gave $50.00

Steve Patten

Gave $50.00

William Meany

Gave $100.00

Julie Sinclair

Gave $50.00

Taylor Rubin

Gave $15.00

Ruth Vander Woude

Gave $25.00

Anthony Nathan

Gave $5.00

Sean Yuzwenko

Gave $75.00

Elissa Weinzimmer

Gave $5.00

Beverly Parker

Gave $25.00

Lucas Wagner

Gave $35.00

Arista Haas

Gave $50.00

Victory Obiefuna

Gave $25.00

Judy Stelck

Gave $100.00

Kristine Nutting

Gave $25.00

Lynne Martin

Gave $25.00

Martin Neon Martin Neon

Gave $50.00

Heather Donaldson

Gave $50.00

Tony Gruhn's Metalworks Inc.

Gave $250.00

Sharon Pianzola

Gave $25.00

Connor Yuzwenko-Martin

Gave $25.00

Joan Paton

Gave $25.00

Angela Martincevic

Gave $25.00

Jane Potentier

Gave $50.00

Salena Kitteringham

Gave $50.00

Victoria Johns

Gave $25.00

Jeff Schweitzer

Gave $50.00

Janaki Kulkarni

Gave $50.00

David Cheoros

Gave $50.00

Armin Wiebe

Gave $25.00

David Prestley

Gave $150.00

Barbara Hensch

Gave $25.00

Bernice Thomas

Gave $50.00

Carol Dundes

Gave $75.00

Sandra Yuzwenko

Gave $250.00

Jonathan Durynek

Gave $50.00

Sheila Graham

Gave $25.00

Matthew Racz

Gave $25.00

15 supporters have chosen not to be listed for "Tribes: Breaking Down Barriers".

Make an Impact


Give $5

A gift of this amount lets you to show that you support this project! Every dollar makes a difference.


Give $25

This gift could provide a half hour of interpreter time. Each gift adds up!


Give $50

Seven gifts could provide us with an interpreter for a full day. The interpreters help us with translating the script from English to ASL that is needed for the actor playing Billy’s girlfriend. She is learning part of a new language too!


Give $250

Each of these gift could provide us with five hours of interpreter time. We need them in rehearsal in order to incorporate them into the staging. This is essential to proper interpretation of this fast-paced play.

Ground Breaker

Give $500

Two gifts will cover the out of rehearsal prep time for one interpreter. This gets them ready to interpret the most appropriate ASL choices for the play.


Give $1,000

One gift could give an interpreter twenty hours of preparation time. This is the time needed to learn the actors' movements and mannerisms; details matter to interpretation, as there are many ways to sign.