Juan Jaramillo, originally from Colombia, overcame the unique challenge of being deaf from birth. In the 1970s, he and his family immigrated to Canada, settling in Toronto. Before his career in theatre and film, Juan dedicated nine years to working for the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, passionately advocating for children and youth with disabilities, championing their rights and accessibility.
In Toronto, Juan's profound passion for music, dance, and theatre was ignited. He founded Dancing Hands Theatre, an initiative established in 1993 with Patti Trofimenoff. As its artistic director, Juan revitalized Deaf theatre, offering Deaf artists a platform to shine. He excels both on and off the stage, serving as a sign language consultant, ASL acting coach, and theatre sign language interpreter, making the performing arts accessible to both Deaf and hearing audiences.
Juan's creative talents extend to filmmaking. He has served as a director of the short film, "Misconceptions," created in collaboration with the Deaf Outreach Program. This powerful film, featuring an all-Deaf cast and presented entirely in sign language, explores the complexities of a relationship amidst infection and uncertainty.
In theatre, Juan was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for his outstanding play, "Fernando and His Llama Friend." This play, performed entirely in sign language, was offered with accessibility in mind, especially for children, including those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. It graced prestigious stages across Canada in 2023.
His work was also selected among the top 10 Canadian artists invited to participate in the Pitch session at the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Spotlight Canada, hinting at exciting opportunities for international performances.
Juan embodies the belief that art is a bridge connecting hearts and minds. With boundless artistic spirit, he continues to deliver captivating performances that prioritize accessibility and inclusivity.
Juan is on the verge of a new development during his mentorship. He is eagerly preparing to direct his new script, titled "But The Truth Is...," and anticipates showcasing it in spring 2024, adding yet another chapter to his remarkable journey. Juan Jaramillo is a true trailblazer in the realm of Deaf theatre, and his work is a testament to the power of art to inspire and unite.