Early next year, the Theatre Development Fund's (TDF) Theatre Access Project (TAP) will present its second London theatre tour for patrons with hearing loss. The tour is scheduled to take place March 24 - April 1.
TDF has numerous programs in place to make theatre accessible and to bring young people into the theatre. Its special programs for the hard-of hearing and the deaf have helped people enjoy theatre for more than 20 years. In that time, TDF reports it has provided “access to theatre for tens of thousands of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals through special open captioned and sign language interpreted performances of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.”
In March 2000, TDF launched its first London tour for the hearing impaired. Presented in conjunction with the advocates for better communications/a.b.c. and the League for the Hard of Hearing, the TAP program presented “the first-ever open captioned theatre performances in London.”
The 2001 trip offers an open-captioned performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Henry V, and another open captioned performance of a West End theatre production TBA. The seven night, eight day tour includes “round trip airfare on British Air, seven nights at London's first-class Strand Palace Hotel (full English breakfast daily), Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, backstage tours of the Globe and National Theatres and tours of Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, the Parliament and Big Ben.”
TDF reports that its program has prompted the Royal Shakespeare Company, which “has presented several open captioned performances during this past year and has adopted the open captioning system.” In TDF’s prepared statement, TAP director Lisa Carling reports that the open-captioning system for the hearing impaired was developed by Don DePew. “Open captioning brings a new option and an added dimension for these theatregoers," Carling said.
TDF says the entire tour is being fashioned for “people with hearing loss who use hearing aids and assistive devices” and that there will be “no sign language interpreting on the trip.”
Reservations deadline is January 15. The cost for the 7 night, 8 day trip is $1,999 per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement may be added for $430. For information visit www.tdf.org or call (212) 221 0885, ext. 257, fax (212) 768-1563 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. TDF’s TTY number is (212) 719-4537.
— By Murdoch McBride