South’s ASL teacher takes over interpreting business

ASL teacher Lori Peters smiles for a photo after an interview with the Scribe. She is pictured in room 1404 during her 10th period study hall on Sept. 27.
ASL teacher Lori Peters smiles for a photo after an interview with the Scribe. She is pictured in room 1404 during her 10th period study hall on Sept. 27.
Sumira Adhikari


In October of 2022, South’s ASL teacher, Lori Peters, took leadership of Stage Hands, a business that signs at theatrical shows and concerts. Founded by Meg Tucker, an interpreter and South alum. Peters took ownership following Tucker’s retirement. 

Stage Hands is contacted by businesses or theaters and provides interpreters for performing arts. Peters provides interpreters for all Broadway shows through Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA); all the main shows at the State Fair; and one show per each production run at Short North Stage. 

Peters herself has 25 years of interpreting experience; but with a full time job and a family, she can’t sign at all the events by herself. “I pick the ones I want to do for sure,” Peters said, “and hire interpreters for the others.” 

She has a list of interpreters on hand, and she references it to find the best match when she’s contacted about a job. As a job, Peters said the work can be time consuming. She said it can take months for interpreters to get ready for shows, as they have to memorize all the parts. 

Due to the volume of the interpreters’ work, Peters said one of the hardest parts of her profession is requests for free services. “It’s a tough spot,” she said. “I want the deaf community to have access to events…[but interpreting] takes a lot of work and interpreters should be compensated for their time and work.” 

Peters only wishes for the business to stay afloat and continue providing quality services for the deaf population. For her, Stage Hands is more about passion rather than a means of profit, and dedicates time in the evenings to focus on it. 

“…you have to stay very organized,” Peters said, in regard to how she’s always in communication with interpreters and venues; sending texts, receiving phone calls, and responding to emails. Especially during busier times, with four to six shows happening per week, it can get difficult to be available to everyone. 

With her dedication to ASL, one might think Peters may have grown up with deaf friends or family members. However, she was initially taking German at North, but wasn’t very successful at it and had applied for ASL, where she “…fell in love with the language.” 

After high school, she went on to pursue an associates degree in interpreting from Columbus State Community College, along with a bachelors in special education(with focus on ASL) from University of Cincinnati, and then a masters in curriculum design from Ashland University. 

Peters started her career with interpreting at a school, and then switched over to Columbus State. Nine years ago, she started working for Westerville as a traveling teacher between North and South, and now teaches only at South. 

A senior in her ASL 4 class, Brady Crill has said, “She cares a lot-she’s very passionate about ASL… and she does a really good job interacting with students, people, and language.” He spoke of how ASL has helped him become better with language in general. 

Audrey Rice, a sophomore taking ASL 2, described Peters as a patient teacher, who doesn’t raise her voice. 

Although neither Crill nor Rice are planning on pursuing ASL as a career, Peters said there’s plenty of opportunities available to those that wish to do so. 

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