She has performed in hundreds of shows to audiences for more than a decade – without ever speaking a word.
That’s because Lesley Crerar, 54, is the sign language interpreter at His Majesty’s Theatre (HMT).
Her back catalogue stretches back 12 years and includes Renaissance plays and pantomimes as well as musicals.
Lesley, of Dunecht, said: “It’s like a cartoon, creating a story frame by frame.
“Deaf people think in pictures so I have to create a picture with my hands and the way I use my body, I create a story from that.
“I also have to portray each person so the deaf person knows who’s talking.
“I have to act like them through using my shoulders and movements, there’s a lot more to it than people realise.”
Having been a psychiatric nurse for 25 years, Lesley was made primary nurse for a deaf patient.
It was then the NHS began funding her through an interpretation course lasting one year.
Learning sign language triggered her to begin raising awareness for deaf people and she was soon contacted by HMT who asked her to provide access for people with hearing impairments.
Now she has performed hundreds of shows, and says she is improving all the time.
Currently, Lesley is part of the Sound of Music which is on show at HMT.
She has also recently appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar and the panto Peter Pan.
She said: “It’s different every day, every day’s a new day, I learn something new every day.
“I’m still learning about getting it right, I would never say I know everything.
“Like any language, the variety is huge.”
Lesley, who had no previous theatrical experience, finds the biggest challenges in humour and metaphors.
A deaf audience would not necessarily find jokes funny the same as a hearing audience.
And plays-on words would not translate properly into sign language, meaning Lesley must explain scenarios so they can be fully understood.
To overcome those barriers, Lesley has done workshops in song and sign language, as well as getting help from the deaf community.
She said: “They might say ‘love is like a river’ but that doesn’t mean anything to a deaf person.
“I need to find signs and facial expressions so a deaf person can understand it.
“In panto, the jokes are often about language with word play and that really is very, very difficult.
“For instance, they might say ‘Do you ken Ken?’ when ken isn’t a word in sign language, so part of the time I’m just explaining what’s going on.
“I get huge support from the deaf community and if I’m struggling to interpret something I get ideas and help from them.”
Despite the challenges, Lesley most enjoys translating musicals, which she claims are often a deaf audience’s favourite.
She says it is the visual aspect of the performance which attracts them, meaning emphasis has to be put on getting the interpretations to fit to the music.