Trinity Repertory Company reaffirms its commitment to inclusivity with new and expanded initiatives for patrons with disabilities. The company’s improved Assistive Listening System, increased number of open-captioned performances, and the creation of an Access Team will help make the theater more welcoming for all patrons, regardless of ability.
“With all of these changes, we are looking forward to becoming a more equitable and inclusive place to visit,” Director of Education and Accessibility Jordan Butterfield said. “This aligns very much with Trinity Rep’s core values, and we spent a lot of time during our pause on live performances focusing on being more accessible.”
Key improvements include those for patrons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Trinity Rep nearly tripled the number of open-captioned performances for each of the company’s five productions this season compared to previous years. Open-captioning is a live text that displays a transcript of a show’s dialogue and sound effects for all to read simultaneously with the performance. The dates for open caption performances are: A Christmas Carol on December 1 – 5 at 7:30 pm and November 7, December 4, and December 5 at 12:00 pm.; Tiny Beautiful Things on February 9 – 12 at 7:30 pm and January 16, February 9, February 12, and February 13 at 2:00 pm; August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean on March 23 – 26 at 7:30 pm and February 27, March 23, March 26, and March 27 at 2:00 pm; Sueño on May 4 – 7 at 7:30 pm and April 10, May 4, May 7, and May 8 at 2:00 pm; and Fairview on June 15 – 18 at 7:30 pm and May 22, June 15, 18, and 19 at 2:00 pm. American Sign Language interpretation is available upon request.
Furthermore, Trinity Rep will offer patrons a brand-new Assistive Listening System that has both Wi-Fi and radio frequency (RF) options. Audience members can download the Listen Everywhere app to get clear audio at Trinity Rep using their own mobile device with their Bluetooth-connected or wired headphones. Alternatively, radio system devices with standard headphones are available for loan to patrons and do not require a smart device or Wi-Fi connection. Both of these options are available at no charge. The new ALD system was funded in part by Ocean State Charities Trust and the Vigneron Memorial Fund.
Trinity Rep will be adding an Access Team of volunteer ushers, led by House Services Manager Suzanne Tidwell, who will be on-call for patrons before, during, and after performances. This trained team will help patrons and their companions who need additional support, which may include but is not limited to: assisting patrons who use wheelchairs, walkers, and assistive listening devices; escorting guests to concessions or restrooms during a show; staying with a patron when their companion is away; easing guests with sensory processing disorders into the theater; or checking in with them during intermission to make sure their needs are met. Trinity Rep is currently training volunteer ushers to work on the Access Team, and expects it to roll out in the spring.
Trinity Rep also continues to accommodate those sensitive to lights and sounds, such as people with autism, PTSD, or sensory processing disorders. The Sensory-Friendly series of performances are identical to other performances but feature a lantern in the theater that will light up to warn audiences when a loud sound or flashing lights are about to come. This year’s Sensory-Friendly performances are as follows: Tiny Beautiful Things on February 2 at 7:30 pm; August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean on March 16 at 7:30 pm; Sueño on April 27 at 7:30 pm; and Fairview on June 8 at 7:30 pm.
Trinity Rep’s Lederer Theater Center is wheelchair and limited-mobility accessible, with elevator services and exclusive accessible seating areas. For more information regarding Trinity Rep and accessibility, please visit www.trinityrep.com/accessibility.