CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - Theater lovers know sitting in the audience of a live stage production can feel like magic. But not everyone can fully enjoy every performance, including the deaf community. This weekend, one community theater company is putting on a show for all audiences.
“The wonderful thing about community theater is it brings together a world of different people,” Red Curtain Theater Executive Director, Kristen Sherman said. “Making the arts accessible for everybody is something that’s so important to us so we’re really glad it worked out this time.”
In one of its final performances of Shrek the Musical, The Red Curtain Theater will feature American Sign Language interpreters through the company Communications Plus Interpreters Service. Staff members say they’re excited to make the show more inclusive.
“Its kind of a unique experience in that a community theater is bringing this level of performance and this accessibility to a whole new group of people,” Director of Education, Johnny Passmore said.
“Deaf and hard of hearing people, some can use hearing aids or listening devices…some lip read well, but providing the ASL interpretation makes it easier for us to see because we’re too far away from the actors that we can’t read their lips. We would miss a lot of the lines. So we really depend on the interpreters to provide us with the access to this,” Nathan Burleson with the Arkansas Association for the Deaf said.
The two main actors, Josh Steen and Cesiley Trevino say they’re so glad the theater is offering this option for people.
“Live performance is a powerful thing and its important that everyone is able to experience that,” Steen said.
The ASL performance is Saturday, August 11th at 7:00 p.m. at the Red Curtain Theater. You can learn more here.