Watch: Rose Ayling-Ellis responds to 'screaming' heckler
Rose Ayling-Ellis has expressed her shock after being heckled on stage during a theatre performance for using sign language.
The EastEnders star and Strictly Come Dancing champion - who is starring as Celia in a West End production of Shakespeare's As You Like It which uses BSL sign language and captions - revealed an audience member had to be removed for interrupting the play with a rant against accessible theatre.
Ayling-Ellis, 28, wrote on Instagram: "During the matinee yesterday, an angry man in the audience interrupted the show with an entitled rant screaming that we were 'discriminating against hearing people!'. He was looking at me directly. It was shocking.
"The video is the reaction when we got back on the stage after he was kicked off. We picked up from Touchstone's line, 'The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly'."
The actor - who is profoundly deaf and uses hearing aids and sign language to communicate - went on: "In the same audience, a little deaf girl sat in the front row with her parents signing to her. Deaf members of the audience are able to sit wherever they want and whenever they want. Hearing people reading the captions, laughing and reacting to our signing on stage, coming into our world and understanding Shakespeare because of this. Two days ago, we had a BSL performance show, and 106 deaf people turn up.
"This is why we do accessible theatre."
She won a TV Bafta for her Couple's Choice dance with partner Giovanni Pernice, which invited viewers into her world as a deaf dancer with the silent sequence in their routine to Symphony by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson.
She said afterwards: "I think it's super important because it's an opportunity to show on such a big platform with millions of people watching, and change their concept of what they think deaf people are like. I'm very proud of that."
Ayling-Ellis rose to fame as Frankie Lewis BBC One EastEnders, which she joined in 2020, but left last year to pursue other roles.