Audio Description at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts

Audio description is “commentary and narration which guides the listener through the presentation with concise, objective descriptions of new scenes, settings, costumes, body language, and ‘sight gags,’ all slipped in between portions of dialogue or songs” (AudioDescription Project, 2018).  Shows in the 2019-2020 season at The Hanover Theatre, which will be Audio Journal’s sixth are:

  • Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, Sunday, September 29 at 1 p.m.
  • The Play That Goes Wrong, Sunday, November 3 at 1 p.m.
  • A Christmas Carol, Saturday, December 21 at 2 p.m.
  • A Bronx Tale, Sunday, January 19 at 1 p.m.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sunday, March 8 at 1 p.m.
  • Bandstand, Sunday, March 22 at 1 p.m.
  • An American in Paris, Sunday, April 26 at 1 p.m.
  • Miss Saigon, Sunday, May 31 at 1 p.m.

Vincent Lombardi, Retired Director of Audio Journal, and a description partner, Robin Sitten, sit in a soundproof booth faraway and high above the stage at The Hanover Theatre.  Before and during a performance, they take turns describing characters and scenery succinctly so their voices don’t interfere with the actors’ lines. Because timing changes with every performance, audio description is done live.  Patrons listen via an earbud and special receiver.  Similar to American Sign Language interpreters serving as the ears for the deaf, Mr. Lombardi and Ms. Sitten serve as the eyes for the visually impaired sitting in the audience. 

Elizabeth Moiles of Worcester, whose macular degeneration causes her vision to be similar to looking through a thick haze, continues to delight in the experience of live theatre:

“When it’s described, it tells you what the set looks like, who’s going to be in it, what the characters look like – so you can imagine it. Sometimes I close my eyes.  I imagine it better that way.”

Visually impaired patrons may purchase tickets at two for the price of one. 

Click the link to go to The Hanover Theatre website.

This program is sponsored by The Memorial Foundation for the Blind, Hoche-Scofield Foundation, and the Mass Cultural Council.