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Accessible Shakespeare
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
Last night, kestrell and I went to see The Taming of the Shrew on the Boston Common. As ladysprite said: "I adore living in a city that both provides free Shakespeare performances every summer and that has enough people who want to see it that the Commons is half-packed an hour before showtime on a weeknight."

The production was quite enjoyable, as they usually are, but the most notable aspect of it for us was the accessibility. They had promoted this particular performance as having a descriptive track for the blind and vision-impaired. And they *far* exceeded our expectations! All the staff members had been briefed, so as soon as we approached the site, someone noticed Kes' white cane and immediately intercepted us, and brought us over to the accessibility table. There, Kes was provided with a braille program, and a wireless headset on which to listen to the descriptive audio. We were then shown to a special seating section that had been set up for us, right up front, stage right. Several staff members had clearly been assigned to this specific section, and came around frequently to check that everyone's receiver was working properly, and even asking if anyone needed help getting to the porta-potties! The describers did a 30-minute "pre-show", in which they described in detail the set and the costumes.

The show also had what they refer to as "Open Captioning". There were two scrolling text displays, one at each side of the stage, that ran subtitles. The "blind" section was quite close to one of these, so if they had any hearing-impaired friends sitting with them, they would be accomodated as well.

Kes and I have *never* seen blind patrons made so welcome, much less at a *free* event. But now we know it can be done. There were about a dozen or so blind people in the audience. Here's hoping that they do this again next year, and we get twice as many!

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Hey, Alex
I don't know if you remember me from E3 at the Figueroa aftershow (Tiffany, Computer Games Magazine), but I never forget a face. I happened to see your userpic at the livejournal of my buddy londo and thought I'd say hi. It was great chatting with you at the expo.


Hallo! Yep, I remember you. Good to hear from you!

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