Press Releases Index

November 9, 2004
CONTACT: Rachel Evans
Assistant Professor
Department of Theatre
(908) 737-4420

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.

The Trojan Women is Euripides’ classic tragedy about the horrors of the Trojan War and its aftermath. It is directed by Ernest Wiggins, associate professor in the Department of Theatre, and features scenic design by Nadine Charlsen and costume design by Karen Hart. A student cast of 15 performs in the production. Tickets are $15 for the general public; $12 for seniors; and $10 for children. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Wilkins Theatre Box Office at 908-737-SHOW (7469).