WHITE PLAINS February 24,2016 The Board of Trustees of New York School for the Deaf (also known as Fanwood) and Dr. Ronald Stern, Superintendent, proudly announce that the school will be dedicating its Auditorium/Theatre in honor of Bernard Bragg, one of its most prominent alumni and one of the world’s most accomplished performing deaf artists. A pioneer as a deaf mime and actor, “BB”, as he is fondly called in the deaf community, was central to paving the way for many deaf and hard of hearing actors in Theatre, television, and movies.
Fanwood will proudly unveil the newly named Bernard Bragg Theatre on Friday, June 23, 2016. This ribbon-cutting ceremony along with an evening reception in his honor will be part of a year-long series of events celebrating the school’s 200th anniversary. Established in 1817, NYSD is the oldest school for the deaf in New York and the second oldest in the nation. Though Fanwood has produced the most alumni who have earned doctorates of any school for the deaf among many other outstanding graduates during its long existence, the Bernard Bragg Theatre will be the first school facility not only named after an alumnus but also a deaf person. This is a fitting tribute to Bernard Bragg and his extraordinary essence.
Bragg enrolled at Fanwood at the age of five where he remained until his graduation from high school in 1947. To this day, he fondly reminds friends and family that Fanwood has been and continues to be “home” – and that he would not be where he is today if it were not for the school. One of his earliest mentors as a young child was none other than Robert F. Panara, a renowned teacher and poet who taught Bragg and nurtured his interest in the arts. His love for the stage grew steadily stronger over the years in what was formerly known as the Peet Hall Auditorium which has long since given way to the current theatre being dedicated to Bernard Bragg – a well-used, popular and important facility.
Dr. Stern notes “naming our theatre in honor of Bernard Bragg is an important and lasting celebration of his incredible talents and contributions. Furthermore, it is also with a burst of pride that, as the school commemorates its 200th anniversary going forward, it will be cemented forever that Bernard Bragg is an esteemed, proud product of Fanwood.”
Linda Bove, an NYSD Trustee, long-time librarian on Sesame Street, accomplished deaf actor, and personal friend of Bernard Bragg stated “It is so well deserved that the Theatre at New York School for the Deaf be named after this great man. He single handedly recruited me for the National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) when I was a junior at Gallaudet University. Without Bernard Bragg at the forefront of deaf theatre, and as a proponent of young deaf actors, many of us would not have become accomplished in the field. “
Please be sure to check out the school’s website at nysd.net for details of the Bernard Bragg Theatre naming events to be held on June 23, 2016 at Fanwood.
Come one, come all as we welcome Bernard Bragg back to Fanwood to thank and celebrate him!