FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kean Theatre Provides Audio-Description Service
UNION, N.J. –– In an effort to serve a broader community, Kean University’s Department of Theatre will begin offering audio-description services for its main-stage theatre productions. The first play to feature this new benefit is Euripides’ The Trojan Women on Sunday, November 14, at 2 p.m., held at Wilkins Theatre, located at 1000 Morris Avenue in Union, N.J.
Audio description provides details of visual images for individuals who are blind or have other visual impairments. A trained describer broadcasts a live verbal description of what takes place on stage, and the patron, by listening through a headset, no longer needs to rely on a companion to provide the information. Audio description allows the entire audience to experience the theatrical presentation simultaneously, as all can enjoy the same response time to elements of surprise, humor or characterization that may be visually communicated.
Kean University is able to add audio description to its roster of patron
services by utilizing the expertise of Rachel Evans, assistant professor
in the Department of Theatre. Evans, who joined the theatre faculty in
September, has been audio describing at New Jersey’s professional
theatres since 1999. As former associate director of education at George
Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, N.J., Evans was trained in audio description
with her fellow staff members by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. “As
theatre artists, providing this service is the least we can do to increase
accessibility to our work,” Evans said, noting that theatre companies
across New Jersey currently struggle to find skilled describers for their
audiences. Evans hopes to alleviate that difficulty by finding volunteers
to train among Kean’s theatre students. “I can see this University
becoming a source for quality describers ready to serve individuals with
visual impairments in this state,” Evans said. Evans continues her
partnership with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance in this endeavor, as
the organization will supply the necessary equipment to Kean University
for the November 14, performance.