Making Accessible Theatre

Outreach |August 6, 2015

Our friends Mike and Carol Richman of the Vermont Council of the Blind, and Audio Describer Alice Austin, joined us in Weston for a matinee performance of Guys and Dolls.

Weston Playhouse Creates Runyonland

Mike and Carol’s organization, the Vermont Council of the Blind, operates with a singular mission — to create recreational opportunities for people with vision loss which include monthly social events, and day trips with describers to regional museums, theatres, and cinemas. Richman credits Mal with sparking the partnership. Ewen, a founding Weston director and the director of Guys and Dolls, approached Mike about the idea and Weston, in fact, became the very first live theatre to offer audio-describing in the state of Vermont.

Next week, Mike and Carol are bringing a group of 26 to see Guys and Dollsdescribed by Alice Austin. Prior to the performance, Austin will read a secondary script (prepared by our own Madie Kvale) to the patrons, describing various technical aspects of the performance (costumes, set) as well as the physical theatre surroundings.

Meet Alice.

Audio Describer Alice AustinThis dynamic, talented woman has been a professional Audio Describer since 1999. She began at WGBH’s Descriptive Video Service, where she described hundreds of hours of film and broadcast television.  In cooperation with WETA in Washington, DC, Alice was one of two live Audio Describers of the 2000 Presidential Inauguration, and she provided live description for the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, including the keynote address of the pre-Presidential, Barack Obama.

Since 2003, she’s worked as a freelance Describer, providing access to countless live theatre performances, presentations, museum tours, independent films and television programs. Alice continues to describe and facilitate the description for theatre productions throughout the Boston area and is currently a part-time Describer for Bridge Multimedia in New York City.

We had an absolutely fabulous time with Mike, Carol, Alice, and their guests and look forward to another visit this summer season!


Tags: Audio Described Theatre, Guys and Dolls, Vermont Council of the Blind, Weston Playhouse Theatre Company


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