Volunteers Help Make Live Theater Possible For Visually Impaired - WSPA.com

Volunteers Help Make Live Theater Possible For Visually Impaired

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The Flat Rock Playhouse began offering audio-descriptive performances in 2011. The Flat Rock Playhouse began offering audio-descriptive performances in 2011.
FLAT ROCK, N.C. -

The actors not only rehearse their lines, so does a group of specially-trained volunteers at the Flat Rock Playhouse.

"I think giving everybody the opportunity to enjoy what the rest of us just take for granted is really important," says audio-description volunteer Pat Roberts.

 

Roberts has learned to speak "between the lines" to describe what is happening on stage for a visually-impaired audience.

 

And it's that kind of dedication allowing people like Michael Nelipovich who lost his vision 20 years ago to still enjoy live theater.

"The describers take me to a new level," Nelipovich said.

Flat Rock Playhouse offers one audio-described performance during every production.

Volunteers spend nearly 40 hours preparing for it.

They will watch the play themselves multiple times before they explain what they see.

From entrances and exits to facial expressions, action sequences and costumes – volunteers will dictate what is going on without interrupting the performance for the other person listening through an earpiece.

"You are there to enhance their experience of live theater," says Roberts. It is not about you at all, it is about them."

Audio-described performances are only offered at the Mainstage and take place on the last Saturday matinee performance of a production.

Click here for a list of current and upcoming shows.

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