Sunshine 2.0


A Note from the Coordinator

Headshot of Fred Beam
Fred Beam
Sunshine 2.0

Sunshine 2.0 is on the road! This traveling road show offers performances for children, teenagers, and the general community. Workshops and performances provide educational opportunities for audience members to learn from each other, make discoveries in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and literacy through the arts, and gain new awareness of the role of arts in STEM. Our engaging shows provide valuable insights into the human condition, and skits and concerts demonstrate positive role models. Our performances demonstrate that diversity wins and that deaf and hearing people can successfully interact and engage with one another.

We hope you come to see us in action when we are in your neighborhood!



RIT/NTID’s Theater on Tour

Sunshine 2.0 is a professional traveling theater troupe based at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, New York. The troupe travels to public schools, schools for the deaf and hard-of-hearing students, colleges, or civic group venues and offers performances and activities that highlight STEM fields and other educational topics through the arts. Performances are presented in voice and in American Sign Language, are accessible to all audience members and cover subjects for people of all ages.

Sunshine 2.0 players intermingled in performance posesUsing unique approaches to theater and dance, Sunshine 2.0 develops programs, workshops, and performances featuring materials that provide educational content and demonstrate the special quality of the performing arts in Deaf theater, while introducing audiences to the experiences of Deaf people.

Sunshine 2.0 audiences have a rare opportunity to see an exciting form of art that is not only entertaining, but introduces them to the world of deafness and creates an impression that will last a lifetime. Contact us in our booking section or online to schedule a performance at your location today.

Meet the Company

The members of this traveling troupe come from many parts of the United States with performance credentials in drama, comedy, dance and children’s theater, to name just a few.

Fred Michael Beam

Fred Michael Beam portraitFred Michael Beam is the outreach coordinator for Sunshine 2.0. He is an experienced performer with acting credits that include Nicholas in “By the Music of the Spheres” at the Goodman Theater, Harry in “Harry the Dirty Dog” at the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts; Witness in “Miracle Workers” and Stranger in “Mad Dancer” at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.; “Fall Out Shelter,” “The Dirt Maker” and “The Underachiever” at the Kennedy Center; the title character in “Othello” at Gallaudet University; and Steve in “A Streetcar Named Desire” at Sign­Rise Cultural Arts in Washington, D.C. He also performs in his one-man shows, “Fred Michael Beam: Sign Me a Story” and “Black, Deaf Male: Who Am I?,” which toured nationwide. He was a member ofI Didn't Hear That Color,” the first black deaf play ever produced. His television and film credits include “If You Could Hear My Own Tune,” The West Wing,” “Secret Dream,” “Little Lonely Monster,” “Deaf Mosaic” and “The New Captain Kangaroo,” for which he won the 2000 Media Access Award.

A dancer, director and choreographer, Beam has worked with the Gallaudet Dance Company, the National Deaf Dance Theatre, the DuPont Dance Company, the Penn Vision Dance Company and the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts. He has performed around the globe, including in Africa, Australia, Egypt, England, France, Jamaica, Japan, Sweden, South America and the Virgin Islands. He also was choreographer for the production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Open Circle Theater in Washington, D.C.

He is executive director of In­visible Hands, Inc., which promotes deaf awareness through performing arts and was a founding member of The Wild Zappers, an all deaf male dance company. He also established Theater Arts Leadership Training for Deaf People of Color at Gallaudet University. Beam established the Black Deaf Expo and has hosted it since 2003, providing the Deaf Black Community the opportunity to stand proud, displaying their culture.

Beam also was a board member of Quest for Arts, Inc., the Governor's Ad­visory Committee on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities in Maryland and a former president of District of Columbia Black Deaf Advocates. For his outstanding work with the deaf community, Beam was chosen one of “Essence Magazine’s” Real Men of the Year, and has been “DEAF LIFE” magazine’s Deaf Person of the Month.

Shiann Cook

Shiann Cook portraitShiann is a Cleveland native who recently relocated to Rochester to join the Sunshine 2.0 team. Shiann went to Cleveland School of the Arts where she studied dance under the instruction of former Dayton Contemporary Dance Company member, Terrance Greene. She has performed at the International Association of Black Dance conference in Denver, Colorado, and has traveled around the country performing professionally.

Shiann also studied theater for two years under the leadership of Dr. Scott Miller and Nina Domingue- Glover where she was taught African American theater, classical theater and how to direct, write and produce her own plays.

Shiann grew up in church praise dancing under the leadership of her mother Selena Pittman, who eventually gave Shiann the opportunity to teach and choreograph for the ministry. Shiann loves singing, dancing and acting but apart from that she enjoys watching movies and spending time with family and friends.

Tyler Fortson

Tyler Fortson portraitTyler James Fortson is a native of Mississippi, and was raised in Houston, Texas. He has performed in A Night in Bethlehem Comedy, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Quid Pro Quo, and Beauty and the Beast. As an RIT/NTID student, Tyler was involved in Theater Arts, Velocity Dance Crew, and Tiger Media.

After graduating with an associate degree in 3D Graphic Technology, Tyler was involved in Insomniac Games’ Spiderman as Miles Morales, and used sign language. He joined Deaf West Theatre and was in Episode Nine of NBC television’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. He also performed in Kelly Clarkson’s video, I Dare You.

Tyler has returned to NTID to major in Mass Communications. His goal is to network with people in the Deaf community and help them find opportunities in dance, film and art. He believes that everyone deserves to be a shining star.

Tyler is very proud of who he has become, and is thankful for his loving family who supported his dream to perform on the stage.

Zain Ahmed

Zain Ahmed portraitZain was born and raised in Pakistan. He moved to Chicago when he was 8 years old. He has recently graduated in Marketing with a minor in Psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology. In high school, he was involved in many plays at a local theater at International Center on Deafness and the Arts (I.C.O.D.A) in Chicago, IL. Zain was cast in his first acting role as Dopey in Snow White. Eventually, he was cast in other roles in West Side Story, Into The Woods, and St. Paddy Day. He was also involved in a dancing group, Traveling Hands Troupe (T.H.T), for two years. In his senior year of high school Zain and his team went to Dubrovnik, Croatia in Europe for the International Conference for Deafness arts showcase.

At Gallaudet University Zain was involved in a special performance to share the story about domestic violence incidents through acting to honor Deaf Domestic Violence survivors. When he transferred to Rochester Institute of Technology, he was involved in the plays Hairspray and Almost, Maine. Also, he was the assistant director for a play, Into Act, that is based on ASL storytelling and poetry.

In his free time Zain loves to dance in Lollywood (Pakistan) and Bollywood (India) due to his cultural background. He also enjoys translating English into American Sign Language (ASL) songs from YouTube music videos. In addition, he enjoys traveling and loves to meet new people.

Performances & Workshops

Performances (30-90 minutes)

Our performances involve the amazing use of movement, sign language, physical theater, and other entertaining physical elements. Our shows not only entertain, but also help educate students and other audiences about the Deaf experience—information that is shared through a range of skits and short plays involving sign-mime, dance, gestures, ASL poetry, songs, and storytelling. All performances are presented in sign language and spoken English to provide full access to audiences.

Workshops (30-60 minutes)

By incorporating the use of ASL, sign-mime, signing songs, body awareness, and the use of theater games, participants gain an understanding of body movement and basic theater techniques useful for everyday life. Workshops are designed for about 20 to 30 participants. We can provide a longer workshop for high school students, college students, and community members.

Book Us

Book a Sunshine 2.0 Performance or Workshop

For additional information about Sunshine 2.0 or to request a booking date, please contact:

Fred Beam
Rochester Institute of Technology
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
DCCS-Performing Arts Program
52 Lomb Drive
Rochester, NY 14623


Life on Earth

Mobius - The Journey

Mobius - Climate Change

Where The Wild Designs Are

View videos from some past Sunshine 2.0 performances in our archive.

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If you are requesting a performance for your venue, please go to the Book Us form.

Our History

1 male and 2 female cast members posing with arms stretched towards cameraSunshine 2.0 is a 21st century reboot of Sunshine Too, a similar on-the-road performing arts program that was established in 1980 and, during its 19-year history, visited 48 states, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Israel, and Japan, presenting programs developed around the themes of deaf awareness, social issues, and the environment.

The troupe provided more than 12,500 performances for more than 1.3 million people worldwide.

Sunshine 2.0 players photo, 1 sitting, 2 standing, 2 kneeling, all with arms crossed

Contact Us

Please go to the Book Us form if you are requesting a performance.
Or use the form below to send us other questions or comments about Sunshine 2.0