A TEENAGER with hearing problems who was inspired to act by Dr Who has won the chance to perform on stage.

Joseph Melville-Reed, who is moderately deaf, took to the stage after winning Raising the Bar, a competition by the National Deaf Children’s Society to encourage children to follow their dreams and take part in the arts.

The prize for the 14-year-old, of Hove, was a weekend masterclass with a deaf professional from the arts industry to develop his drama skills before a live performance for family and friends in Birmingham.

Joseph said: "I began to enjoy watching Dr Who and Matt Smith inspired me to think about acting, as it looked so much fun.

"I began to memorise some of his speeches and began to act with feeling and passion. My great grandparents were stage actors so I am hoping I have inherited their genes. My mum noticed the competition and asked me if I wanted to enter. I went ahead with it and was so pleased to find out I was one of the winners."

Joseph was nervous about going to Birmingham but it was worth the trip.

"I knew I would be spending a lot of time with people I didn't know and I don't have many deaf friend," he said.

"But everyone was so welcoming and so full of energy and excitement that it was easy for me to be caught up in the fun of it all.

“I picked up a lot more sign language during the weekend and I learnt how to control my voice, how to make my acting more powerful and how to pronounce certain words that due to my deafness, I found hard to distinguish. It was daunting speaking and acting in front of so many people, but I was pleased it went so well. All of us performers became close and it was great to share in everyone's success.”

Deaf actress Sophie Stone, who played Cass in Dr Who, launched the contest. She said: “I was so impressed by the high standard of competition entries.

"I know how vital it is for deaf children and young people to be in an environment where they can build confidence, gain skills and make new friends. "Deaf children are just as capable as everyone else, we just need to make sure they get the right support."