By Ruth Barrett, Communications Coordinator and Audio Describer
One of North America’s longest-running arts festivals, Ontario’s Stratford Festival is committed to making every person’s visit extraordinary. Over the past number of years, we’ve added many enhancements to our programs, facilities and services to provide patrons with disabilities with the resources they need to have an enjoyable theatre experience. Our buildings and facilities are wheelchair accessible, and special access seating is available.
Trained, accredited service animals are always welcome on our premises. Guide dogs or other service animals are allowed to accompany patrons with disabilities in any of the Festival areas that are open to the public. If you are planning to see a performance, please advise the Box Office representative when you purchase your tickets so that an appropriate seat (aisle or special access) can be assigned to you. We also welcome patrons with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Complimentary admission for one support person accompanying a patron with a valid CNIB card or an Access2Entertainment card will be granted. The Festival will also consider additional requests on a case-by-case basis.
The Stratford Festival is finding ways for all of our visitors to fully enjoy our wonderful productions, including patrons who are blind, low-vision, deaf and deafened. Theatre is a visual and auditory medium: you take in the story both by watching the actors move around the stage and by listening to the words they’re saying. If your vision is compromised, you’ll be able to get the gist of the play, but you might leave feeling that you missed out on the total experience. For the deaf and deafened, there are interesting images to look at, but it can be difficult to follow the story. We have enhancements in place to address both of these challenges.
For blind and low-vision theatre lovers, Braille house programs and magnifying sheets may be borrowed from the theatre. Our well-received Audio Described Performances are offered on selected dates throughout the season. These performances are designed to enhance the experience for patrons who are blind or have low vision. A live audio describer gives details of costumes, sets and key on-stage action. Delivered via headset, the description supplements the spoken dialogue without interfering with it. Audio Described Performances are scheduled on the following dates:
Crazy for You:
June 22 and August 6 at 2 p.m.
Man of La Mancha:
July 12 and August 29 at 2 p.m.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
July 27 at 2 p.m.
July 26 and September 7 at 2 p.m.
For our deaf and deafened patrons, hearing assistive receivers are available for patrons with hearing disabilities and/or requiring hearing assistance. All four of our theatres are equipped with Infrared Assistive Listening Systems. We encourage you to reserve your receivers in advance, but on-site requests can be accommodated if quantities permit.
We are also offering two ASL Interpreted Performances this season. American Sign Language theatre interpreters, stationed at the level of the stage, provide interpretation for deaf and deafened patrons. We hope you can join us for the following performance dates:
Man of La Mancha: July 5 at 8 p.m.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
September 20 at 2 p.m.
The Stratford Festival’s ASL and Audio Described performances are sponsored by Sun Life Financial.
From classics to new plays
From Shakespeare to musicals to kid-friendly productions, we have something for everyone to enjoy at the Stratford Festival! Please visit our website www.startfordfestival.ca or call our Box Office at 1.800.567.1600.