Inclusion Theatre Becomes a Reality at The Palace!
By Trina Sherman
A new idea has brightened the stage of our beloved Palace Theatre in a way that no form of electricity could provide. Out in the community around you are special needs families, similar to yours but very different, too. These families are struggling daily, not just with the special needs issues you might expect, but with the very fact that we become prisoners in our own homes. Where do you take a child who cannot tolerate the sounds, lights, and commotion of the world? What do you do when your child is stared at? Or – even worse – when complete strangers say horrible things to you because they cannot tell your child has challenges not immediately apparent? So what do you do? I have three children, and only one of them has Autism. Rather than leave him home, we just stopped going to restaurants, social events, and all forms of entertainment. Imagine!Now imagine it different. Often just imagining and dreaming of making a difference or changing a perception is the first step to making it a reality. I brought the dream of live inclusion theatre to the attention of the Georgetown Palace, and they made it happen: first with Scrooge last December and more recently with The Wizard of Oz. The community stepped in and paid for the performance so that special needs families could come together as a whole without worry of how to pay. The Georgetown Palace holds these free, shortened productions of family-friendly musicals for special needs folks and their families. The Palace thanks the City of Georgetown Arts and Culture Board for their financial support.
Dancing with ParkinsonsThe theater hosts a weekly free hour long class for those with Parkinson’s disease & their care givers. The class is made possible by a grant from Scott & White Clinic & is taught by a professionally trained instructor. Dance for PD® provides the participants the opportunity to explore movement & music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating & creative. The program helps participants develop flexibility & instills confidence. The aim of the class is to stimulate mental activities that connect the mind to the body. Dance focuses attention on eyes, ears & touch as tools to assist in movement & balance in a friendly & understanding environment.
Audio description is a verbal commentary that tells visually impaired theatre-goers what is happening on the stage during the parts of the performance where there is no dialogue (i.e. during fight scenes). The description does not interfere with the performance but fills in the gaps, describing facial expressions, costume, scenery & action sequences so that anyone with a sight problem can follow the plot fully & independently.
Inductive Hearing Loop
The main auditorium of the theater is outfitted with an inductive loop which is made up of 4 loops which transmit sound directly from the sound board to any hearing aid fitted with a T-Coil. A user need only activate the T-Coil option & they can access the service. This allows them to turn off the microphone in their hearing aid, if they choose to eliminate ambient sound in the auditorium, enhancing their sound quality. For those who do not have the proper equipment, we offer loner units for check out. This service is free & is always available at any performance.