By Ashley Rader
The outdoor drama at Sycamore Shoals has been drawing in thousands of spectators for over 30 years. This year, the drama is reaching out to another portion of the population by offering sign language interpretation for hearing impaired individuals each Friday night that the drama is showing.
“Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals,” Tennessee’s official outdoor drama, is entering its 34th season this year. To help make the drama more accessible to everyone, Harold Lingerfelt will be providing American Sign Language interpretation on Friday nights.
Lingerfelt has been involved with the drama since it was first started in 1978. He said sign language interpretation was offered before but it was stopped because of a low demand.
“We didn’t have the participation before to keep it going,” Lingerfelt said. “Arden Hill would come down. He would ask before the drama started if anyone needed the interpretation and no one would raise their hand that they needed it.”
Lingerfelt noted that Arden Hill was the person who taught him how to use sign language approximately 40 years ago. He first came in contact with sign language when hearing impaired individuals started to attend church at Immanuel Baptist. After watching them use sign language, he wanted to learn it for himself. To start learning, he would watch how the signs were made and would keep a notebook of what they meant and how to do them. From there he started taking classes to further learn the language. He has been a sign language interpreter and instructor for more than 30 years.