News: Baltimore Center Stage Announces New Accessibility Program

Knott Foundation Grant Opens Doors for Theatergoers 

Baltimore Center Stage has announced the rollout of its newly expanded and updated Accessibility Programs, funded in part by a grant from the Marion I. & Henry J. Knott Foundation. With upgraded technology and expanded accessibility options, Baltimore Center Stage touts one of the most comprehensive sets of programmatic options for patrons with access needs, and has positioned itself as a leader in the field of theater accessibility.

“This expansion of our accessibility programs tremendously helps us achieve our goal of Access for All,” said Michael Ross, Baltimore Center Stage Managing Director. “We are immensely grateful to the Knott Foundation for their strong support and commitment to making sure quality live theater is available for everyone in our community.”

With the Knott Foundation’s 2017 Arts and Humanities Grant, Baltimore Center Stage implemented upgrades to its Assistive Listening Devices, added additional personnel for Audio Description services, and began offering Touch Tours, where the Audience Services department and the Audio Describer are able to let patrons touch key props to offer a tactile reference prior to the performance. A state of the art closed caption system now allows patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing more flexibility in ticket exchange options and seating. Baltimore Center Stage has also expanded its Braille program printing, and its production of large print programs.

Additionally, ASL performances are available for one performance of each Mainstage production.

With a newly formed Sensory Friendly advisory council, a collaboration with our education and artistic departments and the Audience Services department, Baltimore Center Stage is also actively engaged in studying and recommending appropriate sensory friendly Mainstage shows to support members of the Autistic community.

The Knott Foundation (www.knottfoundation.org) is a Catholic family foundation which provides grants throughout the area covered by the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Its Arts and Humanities Grants support performing, visual and instructional arts programs in the community. Baltimore Center Stage was awarded $50,000 to support accessibility for blind, deaf, and autistic populations.

Baltimore Center Stage is committed to providing Access for All through innovative and advanced technologies, community collaboration, and commitment to inclusion. Baltimore Center Stage’s Access for All commitment is dedicated to creating the highest quality theater for all on our Mainstage and Off-Center productions, as well as through our education programs and community engagement. Members of the media are encouraged to connect with us to continue the conversation and to highlight our programming and the Knott Foundation’s grant.

About Baltimore Center Stage 

Baltimore Center Stage is a professional, nonprofit institution committed to entertaining, engaging and enriching audiences through bold, innovative and thought-provoking classical and contemporary theater. Named the State Theater of Maryland in 1978, Baltimore Center Stage has steadily grown as a leader in the national regional theater scene. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE and Managing Director Michael Ross, Baltimore Center Stage is committed to creating and presenting a diverse array of world premieres and exhilarating interpretations of established works.

Baltimore Center Stage believes in access for all—creating a welcoming environment for everyone who enters its theater doors and, at the same time, striving to meet audiences where they are. In addition to its Mainstage and Off Center productions in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood, Baltimore Center Stage ignites conversations among a global audience through digital initiatives, which explore how technology and the arts intersect. The theater also nurtures the next generation of artists and theater-goers through the Young Playwrights Festival, Student Matinee Series and many other educational programs for students, families and educators.

by Robyn Murphy, Baltimore Center Stage Public Relations Manager

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