Addressing Underserved Theater Audiences

More theater companies should follow the example set by Gideon Productions, which is launching an Underserved Audiences Outreach Program -- special performances of its upcoming production of Mac Rogers' play Universal Robots that will be interpreted for the blind and the deaf, and a matinee for parents with young children.

The program is an effort to make live theatrical performances more accessible to people who cannot see or hear and to parents who face prohibitive childcare expenses if they wish to see a show.  

A Family Support Matinee on Sunday, June 12, at 2 p.m., has Teaching Artists on hand who will offer children (ages 4-12) theater and arts games while their parents are watching the stage production.

A Performance Interpreted for the Blind on Wednesday, June 15, at 8 p.m., uses D-Scriptive software and hardware, a special earbud that transmits descriptions of the action happening on stage when it's integral to the storytelling.

A Performance Interpreted for the Deaf on Thursday, June 23, at 8 p.m., features two certified American Sign Language interpreters acting out different roles.

Such initiatives help bring the art of live theater to a broader audience.

Performances of Universal Robots, inspired by Karel Capek's 1921 play R.U.R., will take place at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, 18 Bleeker Street in Manhattan, June 3-26, 2016.  For more information, visit